SPRINGFIELD, Mo.–Attorneys representing Greene County Commissioners are joining forces with the Missouri Ethics Commission in an investigation over whether they misused public funds to campaign for a half-cent sales tax that passed in November.
The county’s Kansas City based law team is providing the ethics commission with documentation as it pertains to the investigation.
“We’ve provided a lot of emails. Our attorney from the very beginning when we first hired them contacted our IT department and basically froze every email to where no email could be deleted, could be misplaced, and so all of that information is secure,” says Greene County Presiding Commissioner, Bob Cirtin.
Cirtin says that the county is no longer using its attorneys to lead the investigation into whether county resources were misused to promote a half-cent sales tax where a portion of the money would be applied to the county jail. Instead, their attorneys are working with the Missouri Ethics Commission.
“What we’re asking them to do, our attorneys is to assist the ethics commission in any way they can to provide any document, to provide any witness, they will be doing interviews,” says Cirtin.
It’s an investigation that Cirtin and Sheriff Jim Arnott have insisted is not the role of state auditor Nicole Galloway to conduct even though she is persistent in investigating the allegations against the county.
“It’s outside their jurisdiction as far as the type of investigation that needs to be done,” says Cirtin.
Galloway released a statement on Tuesday, which reads in part, “There is no stepping back from my role as state auditor to expose government corruption, waste, fraud, abuse, and mismanagement. That is distinctly different from the role of the Missouri Ethics Commission in this matter, which looks into violations of campaign finance laws, not abuse and misuse of taxpayer dollars.”
“The actual commission will meet then and decide if there’s any wrongdoing. I feel fairly confident in my behavior and the commission’s behavior,” says Cirtin.
If violations are found…
“I believe the ethics commission can asses penalties or if a crime has been occurred then they can refer it to Missouri attorney general,” says Cirtin.
KOLR10 reached out to the Missouri Ethics Commission, but by law, they can’t even confirm they are investigating this case, but according to Bob Cirtin, the ethics commission expects that their investigation will be over in mid to late February.