No Internal Audit Yet Under Missouri Attorney General
Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt’s office has not audited his compliance with conflict-of-interest rules since he took office in January, despite a policy calling for such a move.
An office policy bans the attorney general from accepting campaign contributions from anyone under investigation by the agency. The policy also calls for regular internal audits to ensure compliance with the rule, according to records obtained by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
A spokesman for Schmitt, a Republican, confirmed Monday that the office hasn’t conducted a formal internal audit, although the office does regularly check for compliance.
“The Attorney General’s office’s conflict of interest policy is the most stringent in the history of the office, and this office strives every single day to be as professional and ethical as possible,” spokesman Chris Nuelle said in a statement.
Nuelle declined to provide The Associated Press with details on other ways Schmitt’s office checks for compliance. The Post-Dispatch reported that Schmitt’s campaign requires donors to self-report whether they are under investigation.
Elad Gross, a Democrat vying to unseat Schmitt in 2020, also requested records on Schmitt’s compliance with the rule and provided the records to reporters.
Republican U.S. Sen. Josh Hawley implemented the conflict-of-interest policy when he first took office as attorney general in January 2017. Schmitt kept the policy after Gov. Mike Parson appointed him attorney general when Hawley joined the Senate in January.
The Post-Dispatch previously reported that members of St. Louis developer Paul McKee’s family and entities tied to them have given Schmitt’s campaign at least $150,000 during Schmitt’s 11 years in politics. The attorney general’s office in June settled a tax fraud lawsuit with McKee’s NorthSide Regeneration company for a fraction of what Hawley’s administration sought.
Schmitt has told the newspaper he had no involvement in the tax-credit case. His office said he didn’t recuse himself but added that such a recusal was unnecessary.
In September, the political action committee backing Schmitt accepted a $10,000 contribution from a fund associated with McKee’s son, Joseph, who’s also a developer.
A fund associated with McKee’s son in September gave $10,000 to a political action committee backing Schmitt’s 2020 bid.