February 4, 2019 - Joint Stipulated Motion and Proposed Order Staying Subpoena
The State Auditor agreed to halt taking further action on a subpoena for records from Clay County today. Both the Auditor and Clay County agree that serious constitutional issues surround the Auditor’s subpoena power, for which a judicial opinion is needed. This agreement, reached 24 hours after the Auditor issued her subpoena, undercuts the Auditor’s claim that her requests were “routine” or “normal.” Rather, it shows that the County’s concerns about constitutional overreach are real, and that the constitutional issues at stake should be decided by an impartial judge in a courtroom, not by a single politician in Jefferson City.
The Missouri State Constitution sets fair and just standards by which elected officials are to be held accountable. It is meant for everyone to follow. As such, the legal outcome of the State Auditor’s actions will prove meaningful not just for the taxpayers of Clay County, but for local governments, school districts, and all government entities that may undergo similar audits conducted by the State Auditor.
The County’s court petition seeks judicial clarification about the permissible scope of the Auditor’s activities under the Missouri Constitution. The Missouri Supreme Court has previously reigned in the Auditor’s office when it strayed from its constitutional limits. The County’s petition also seeks to protect County taxpayers from costs that the Auditor may not constitutionally charge them.
Clay County has been responsive and accommodating to all requests for information that clearly fall within the boundaries of the State Auditor’s authority. Clay County has produced information on approximately 300,000 county financial transactions, given auditors spot access to cash deposits, produced over two dozen employees for interviews by the auditors, given auditors a requested tour of all county facilities and provided private dedicated office space in a county building for all auditors to work.