Republican Sen. Kurt Schaefer continued his probe into Gov. Jay Nixon’s administration Friday regarding the controversy surrounding the Department of Revenue. As KSMU’s Scott Harvey reports, the Senator conducted a public hearing in southwest Missouri.
It was the second time this week Sen. Schaefer spoke before a Springfield audience, the first coming Monday just before Brian Long announced his resignation as DOR director.
The chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee was joined Friday by Springfield Republican Sen. Bob Dixon, who together heard from citizens concerned over the scanning of source documents for conceal carry weapons applicants. Many expressed distrust in the state’s unelected officials who are appointed by the Governor, to the extent that they don’t feel comfortable following certain state regulations.
Schaefer called it a valid argument.
“Part of that agreement was, that in agreement of you getting a concealed carry permit, that your information would be private and never shared with anybody. And so now we find out that the state dropped their end of the deal. So it does have a chilling effect where people say, ‘you know what, why would I comply with that if you can’t follow through with your half of the bargain?’”
Asked if lawmakers could draft legislation that could hold unelected officials more accountable, Sen. Dixon referred back to an earlier point on what he deems the underlying problem: not following the rule of law.
“It’s the integrity of the process that we’re talking about. If the integrity of the process crumbles, we don’t have anything. If we don’t believe and follow the rule of law… why are we gonna sit up there and right em? We don’t have anything if we don’t have the rule of law,” Dixon said.
Another citizen at Friday’s hearing says he won’t be satisfied until someone confirms under oath that they’re no longer in possession of Missourian’s personal information, to which Schaefer said will now become more common.
“But we have that ability to issue subpoenas, and we need to use it more often, and we have the ability to put people under oath. And after being lied to numerous times now in hearings on this, anyone who comes in front of us now on this, on this investigation, is going under oath,” Schaefer said.
It was the Senate’s issuance of a subpoena that produced 50 boxes of documents from DOR, and upon review found that the agency compiled the entire list of the state’s 163,000 conceal carry weapons holders for the Missouri Highway Patrol. The Patrol then provided the list to the Social Security Administration for an investigation it was conducting.
On Tuesday, Gov. Nixon announced that the Missouri Department of Revenue would no longer scan or retain copies of CCW endorsements.
The Senate Appropriations Committee plans to hold another hearing in Kansas City Saturday, with additional hearings scheduled for next Friday and Saturday in Cape Girardeau and O'Fallon.
For KSMU news, I’m Scott Harvey.