Top House Republican forms committee to probe Revenue Department scandal
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Top House Republican forms committee to probe Revenue Department scandal

Date: May 6, 2013
By: Emily Donaldson
State Capitol Bureau

JEFFERSON CITY - At least four law enforcement officials will be part of a committee to investigate the controversy in which the Department of Revenue released conceal carry information of more than 160,000 Missourians to a third party.

One member is the prosecuting attorney from Stoddard County, Russ Oliver, who is responsibile for a subpoena issued to Gov. Nixon.  Oliver issued the subpoena but said he still wants to question several other high level officials on the matter.

Sen. Kurt Schaefer, R-Columbia, said he would like to turn the entire process of issuing conceal carry permits over to county sheriffs, who are also involved in the committee.  Sheriffs Stuart Miller of Audrain County and Oliver Boyer of Jefferson County are currently named as members, but other officials, both legislative and non-legislative, will be added in the coming weeks.

After declaring a lack of cooperation from the Nixon administration, Speaker of the House Tim Jones announced the creation of the committee to delve into the controvery's origin and ways to prevent further problems.

The DOR controversy erupted when state lawmakers discovered the Highway Patrol sent conceal carry permit information to the U.S. Social Security Administration to be used for an investigation into permit carriers with mental disabilities. The leaked information covered data regarding more than 160,000 Missourians.

At first, the Nixon administration denied the information was sent to a third party.

"We are not collecting a bunch of unuseful data to send to some sort of magical database someplace to mess with people," Nixon said April 3.  Since then, the Highway Patrol confirmed the existence of a database was released to the Social Security Administration.

Jones threatened the Nixon administration with legal action if they do not cooperate.

"If the Nixon administration refuses to cooperate, we will compel them to do so by issuing subpoenas," Jones said.

The committee will examine if any standing polices or legislation were violated and interview officials to find out who is responsible for the scandal.

"I feel it is necessary to set up the [committee] to help rebuild the public's trust," Jones said.

Jones said the committee will issue a report by September 1 on its findings.  The report will also include suggestions to help avoid further breaches of information.

Senate Appropriations Chair Kurt Schaefer is the leader of the Senate effort to investigate the scandal.  He said the House and the Senate will continue a collaborative effort to determine the sources of the privacy issue through the end of the legislative session and throughout the summer.

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