Missouri Official Faces Discipline Over Audits of Sen. Josh Hawley's Use of Public Money

The Missouri Board of Accountancy has filed a complaint against the state's auditor Nicole Galloway for alleged bias against the audits of Senator Josh Hawley.

Galloway, who is a Democrat, is accused of conducting unusually critical audits against Hawley's use of public money during his time as state attorney general. The board had been threatening disciplinary action against Galloway for months for her audits, likely resulting in her decision to not run for reelection in June.

"Never before in this state's history has the licensing board for accountants asserted any authority over the powers and functions of the State Auditor," said Galloway in a September statement. "By attempting to control information available to the public, a board of gubernatorial appointees is interfering with the Auditor's central role in enforcing government transparency and accountability. This cannot be allowed to stand."

The Board of Accountancy filed a complaint against Galloway on December 15 claiming that a 2020 audit report on Hawley contained incorrect information regarding his use of state resources. According to local radio station KCUR 89.3, the 2020 audit contained "discussions of personnel decisions, ongoing litigation and other matters that shouldn't have been publicly disclosed." However, Galloway defended these additions, saying that she included them for transparency.

"Galloway's public disclosure of confidential documents is an act of misconduct and/or gross negligence in the performance of the functions or duties of a CPA and provides cause to discipline Galloway's license as a CPA," wrote the board in their complaint to the Administrative Hearing Commission.

Galloway announced her intent to sue the Board of Accountancy in September, with the lawsuit currently pending.

Josh Hawley
Nicole Galloway is accused of conducting unusually critical audits into Senator Josh Hawley's use of public funds. Above, Hawley listens to testimony from DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on November 16, 2021, in Washington, D.C. Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images

An Administrative Hearing Commission hearing on the issue is scheduled for June 2022.

In response to the audit, Hawley asked the accountancy board to investigate Galloway and her office for any violations of their accountants' certifications.

The board claimed the contents of the audit violated a state law against publicly releasing working papers relating to audit reports.

"By attempting to control information available to the public, a board of gubernatorial appointees is interfering with the Auditor's central role in enforcing government transparency and accountability," according to a statement from the office released when Galloway filed the lawsuit.

The seven-member accounting board is made up of two appointees of former Democratic Governor Jay Nixon and five appointees of his Republican successors. The president is a Nixon appointee, and the vice president is Nick Myers, the chairman of the Missouri Republican Party.

A Galloway spokesman on Wednesday declined to comment further on the complaint.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.