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Dec 2015 Issue
Part One: State of Corruption
Part Two: County Crooks
Part Three: Bad Neighbors

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J.J.Rizzo: Saga of a Party Prince

Why Some Votes Are More Equal Than Others

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Upside-Down Democracy
The Bureaucracy of Politics
A Lack of Kander

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This Article's Sources
The Columbia Tribune:
leaked MIAC report
Nixon response
coverage of MIAC debate
MIAC fallout
Nixon's flight habits

St. Louis Post-Dispatch:
Nixon denies Real ID scans
2013 summary of DOR audit
2013 summary of plane audit
2015 summary of Nixon audit

State Auditor's Office:
2012 audit of Governor
2013 Dept. of Revenue audit
2013 Highway Dept. audit
2015 flight audit
2015 audit of Governor

Missouri General Assembly:
2009 House news brief
House bill of impeachment
Senate bill 252

St. Louis Public Radio:
2013 Real ID broadcast
2013 'planegate' broadcast

The Missouri Times:
Nixon Real ID Letter
Nixon stonewalls library group

copies of the "Modern Militia Movement" MIAC report
from wikileaks and
The Constitution Society

Constant Contact's
copy of DHS letter to Nixon

KSDK MIAC fallout
Jason Rosenbaum on MIAC
Governor's Office appointed
Watchdog Nixon "Scan"dal
MissouriNet on impeachment
Riverfront Times plane audit
News Tribune 2011 flight use
St. Louis Beacon lawsuit story
Library Journal funding victory

Missouri's Poli-Ticks
December 2015 Bi-Monthly Edition
Volume One, Part One

Living the High Life

Happy Big Tick
Missouri Governor Jay Nixon

December 2nd, 2015
by Jon Schuessler

Introduction | Part One | Part Two | Part Three

Time in Office: January 1st, 2009 to present
The Charges: Abuse of Office, Misuse of Funds
The Accusers: State Auditor Schweich and Deputy State Auditor Otto, the General Assembly, various news agencies

From the very beginning, Nixon has abused his office to allow federal policy to trump state interests.

The first scandal began in 2009 with a federally-written report, signed off by Governor Nixon and secretly distributed among state police agencies. The report profiled “constitutionalists”, supporters of third parties, Ron Paul or gun rights, pro-life believers, and opponents of taxes among many others as possible “militia terrorists”. Two Libertarian highway patrol officers leaked the report.

(Click here for the full text of "The Modern Militia Movement" MIAC report)
(Click here for the leak of the MIAC report)

The Governor went even further in 2011. Under President Bush, and continued under Obama, the federal government created a national form of ID, approved by Congress as the “Real ID Act”. Missouri is one of many states that has refused to participate, making the Real ID Act illegal. Nixon’s office quietly ordered driver’s license bureaus to copy birth certificates in order to be Real ID compliant anyway. His office ordered the same for firearms permits.

(Click here for state audit concerning the scanning order)
(Click here for a summary of the audit)

Nixon also broke laws to siphon money for himself and his office. In 2012, State Auditor Schweich criticized the Governor for illegally withholding funds from the state budget while stealing money from other departments to fund his mansion and office. Nixon’s withholdings made news in 2015, when a group of teenagers from Kansas City travelled to the capitol to make a personal appeal to the Governor for their library, and were instead forcibly removed from the building by his bodyguards.

(Click here for the full 2012 Schweich audit)
(Click here for Nixon's treatment of the library group)

The biggest money scandal, however, cropped up in a 2013 report by the State Auditor. It involved a plane.

A very, very nice plane.

The Highway Patrol paid $5.6 million to a Wichita-based manufacturer for a King Air 250 airplane. The plane’s brochure states that it has “generous head and shoulder room... Spacious club seating with integrated work tables allows you to get down to business or simply relax and dine with friends.” Governor Nixon’s office approved the purchase, even though it was not open to competitive bidding.

The plane was supposedly for use by all state departments, but Governor Nixon’s office staff used the plane exclusively for themselves during the King Air 250’s first three months of operation. Nixon personally used the airplane 21 times between mid-January and mid-March of 2013 at a cost of $48,000.

What’s more, an audit revealed that the extra plane was completely unneeded, since the state already had five planes which were being under-used. For 113 days in the year 2012, none of those planes were in the air. At no time were all five planes in use.

The only reason to buy the plane, it seems, is because it was more comfortable than the Highway Patrol’s older plane, a King Air 90C.

(Click here for Schweich audit of plane purchase by the State Highway Patrol)
(Click here for audit summary)
(Click here for Schweich audit of flight operations)
(Click here for audit summary)

After Schweich’s death, Deputy Auditor Otto reviewed the Governor’s office in 2015 and found that Nixon was continuing to live the high life. Among the audit’s findings:

Yet Nixon withheld over $400 million from the state budget that year, which included school and library funds, claiming that money was tight.

One can only wonder why.

(Click here for the full 2015 Otto audit)
(Click here for audit summary)

The Aftermath:

The notorious “militia” profiling report became public in mid-March of 2009, on the same day that Nixon and the U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security were giving speeches together at a conference in Kansas City. Nixon immediately defended the report, and the value of the "fusion" center that produced it.

(Click here for the full text approved by Nixon, the DPS, MHSP and MIAC)
(Click here for Nixon's initial reaction)
(Click here for the story of Nixon's changing response)

A week later, after mounting criticism, the report was withdrawn from circulation. Nixon then claimed that it was approved without his knowledge of the contents. By early April, the MIAC's top administrator, Lt. Van Godsey, had been replaced.

(Click here for the story of withdrawal of the report)
(Click here for the story about Van Godsey's dismissal)

The House placed an amendment in a funding bill to prohibit "profiling", but a lack of definition of the term made it legally unenforceable. Three months later, a committee was formed to investigate MIAC activity. MIAC officials testified that "strategic reports" would not be issued in "the foreseeable future".

(Click here for the immediate reaction in the legislature to the report)
(Click here for a summary of the June committee hearings)

In recognition of Nixon’s support for federal “fusion” centers that profile Missourians, President Obama appointed Nixon to his newly-created, ten-man Council of Governors in 2010. As part of the Council, Nixon advises the President on matters of domestic terrorism.

(Click here for a press release about the Obama appointment)

As for the Real ID Act, a Stoddard County resident, Eric Griffin, sued when he was denied a gun permit for refusing to have his personal documents scanned. This prompted a House committee to investigate the matter. By July, compliance with the Real ID Act had stopped, and Senate Bill 252 was signed into law, which made scanning of personal documents by the Department of Revenue illegal.

(Click here for the October conclusions of the investigative committee)
(Click here for the full text of SB 252)

At first Nixon denied that any data collection was taking place. Later, Nixon claimed that his employees acted without his knowledge. However, a letter from the Department of Homeland Security surfaced in which Secretary Napolitano thanked Gov. Nixon for implementing measures of the Real ID Act.

Nixon maintains that he never read the letter.

(Click here to read about Nixon's denial of Real ID compliance)
(Click here to read about communications with the Dept. of Homeland Security)
(Click here for the full text of the letter to Nixon)
(Click here for Nixon's denial of reading the letter)

No state officials were punished for the scanning practice. This caused outrage from certain legislators, who filed three separate articles of impeachment against Nixon. The charges never made it out of committee.

(Click here for the impeachment articles related to the Real ID scandal)
(Click here to read about the charges brought against Governor Nixon)

Schweich sued Nixon over illegally withholding funds in 2012. The Missouri Supreme Court refused to hear the case. In 2014, the General Assembly put an amendment up for public vote to limit the Governor’s power to withhold funds. The amendment passed.

Although the children from Kansas City never saw the Governor, he did eventually reinstate funding for their library.

The Senate Appropriations Committee railed against Nixon’s purchase approval and use of the King Air 250, but did little else.

A 2015 audit by Deputy Auditor Otto revealed that the Governor continued to use other departments’ money for himself, to the point that his office and mansion overspent their budget by at least $1.9 million and then short-changed other departments. The Governor remains largely silent on the issue.

He did claim that his state-funded $1,300 family float trip was meant to promote Missouri tourism.

(Click here for the lawsuit story)
(Click here for the story of the library fund restoration)
(Click here for legislative reaction to the plane purchase)

Continue to Next Article | Back to Part One

Jon Schuessler is a Volunteer leader in Jefferson County, and the chairman for Missouri Volunteers for Government Reform, a Political Action Committee (PAC) of the Volunteer Movement. Click here to read his bio or contact him.

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