MO Statehouse
6:32 pm
Mon February 28, 2011

Mo. Auditor Schweich backs language aimed at Gov. Nixon's travel policy

Missouri State Auditor Tom Schweich (R) says he supports legislation that would require details about the governor's flights around the state to be posted to a state website.

The bill in question has been approved by the Missouri House and is now before the Senate.

It includes language that would require the Governor's Office to post travel dates, times, destinations, the purpose of each trip, expenses, and lists of passengers traveling with the governor.

Governor Jay Nixon (D) has come under fire by lawmakers from both parties for charging state agencies for his flights around the state.  The bill passed the House last week unanimously.

"All we care about is making sure that people know whether they're getting value out of their taxpayer dollars," Schweich told reporters at a a press conference at the State Capitol.  "They're entitled to know whether the legislative intent of the budgeting process is being circumvented."

Schweich also said his support of the bill is not politically motivated.

"My predecessor was a Democrat, and was highly critical of charging travel to other agencies," Schweich said.  "There are legislators who are Democrats who have also been critical of this practice, and there are members of the media at all ends of the spectrum politically who have been critical of the practice, too."

Governor Nixon has said his practice of billing state agencies for travel is efficient, and that the details are public records available upon request.

Schweich says he's also planning an audit of the governor's travels.