JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — Republican Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft’s investigation of Democratic Auditor Nicole Galloway, a Democrat, over a GOP group’s allegations of campaign finance violations has prompted a legal fight.
With Galloway engaged in a tight race for the governor’s seat with Republican incumbent Mike Parson, Ashcroft agreed last month to look into concerns raised by the Liberty Alliance that an opinion piece Galloway wrote on a restrictive state abortion law had been submitted by one of Galloway’s state-paid press aides.
The nonprofit said that violated state law barring the use of taxpayer dollars for campaign purposes. But the auditor’s office said there was no law prohibiting Galloway, as an elected statewide officeholder, from speaking on a variety of topics.
At issue now is how much time Galloway’s office has to respond to a public records request for emails related to the abortion issue. The auditor’s office wants 30 days, but Ashcroft issued a subpoena demanding that they be turned over immediately.
Galloway’s attorneys argued in a complaint filed Tuesday that the probe was politically motivated and that Ashcroft lacked the authority to issue the subpoena.
Ashcroft defended the subpoena Wednesday in a written statement, saying, “If her office would provide the documents which show there was no wrongdoing, we could close this investigation and move forward.”