KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Missouri State Auditor Nicole Galloway was the guest speaker at a Northland Progress event on Tuesday, June 5 at the Kansas City Improv at Zona Rosa.
The second annual event ‘Mo Sessions, Mo Problems’ was a satirical review of happenings in the legislative session. While most of the night brought laughs at some of the political issues in the state, Galloway provided some serious matters during the hour-long program.
She discussed dark money, state audits and duties of her office.
“I have a lot of concerns about dark money and how it bought influence, policy and decisions surrounding your tax dollars in the shadow of state government,” she said. “Though Eric Greitens is gone, that power and influence still remains in Jeff City. It hasn’t gone away and there needs to be disclosure of dark money donors. It is wrong that influence can be brought in the shadows without you knowing or understanding.
“I will work with the legislature. I will work with the new governor. I will do anything I can to raise awareness about dark money, corruption and influence. We need to get to the bottom of this and fix it so leaders are representing you and not special interest.”
Galloway noted that her office operates the state’s whistleblower hotline and everyone that reaches out to that number is kept confidential.
Since taking over in January of 2017, her office has identified nearly $300 million in government mismanagement and also corruption in local government. So far, 30 criminal charges have been filed against public officials.
Locally, emcee Blake Green — Northland Progress president and Parkville resident — asked about the possibility of an audit in Clay County, which has nearly 9,000 signatures. Galloway stated the drive looks like it will be successful.
“It is a way for citizens to hold government accountable and be engaged,” Galloway said. “Concerned citizens reports questionable activities and questionable spending.”
Northland Progress is a non-partisan grassroot coalition supporting forward-thinking policies to benefit the northern Kansas City metro area. Founded January 2017, the group has more than 500 members, many of whom were at the event.
Last year, Martin T. Rucker co-hosted the event with Green, but the state senate candidate wasn’t able to be there this year. Stepping in was Northland Progress treasurer Mike Amash.
The two hosted a Saturday Night Live-esque ‘weekend update’.
Greitens, given his recent resignation, was discussed. Mitch Weber, a house of representative candidate for District 13, provided a movie review that drew a lot of laughs.
Green, a local lawyer, also brought some laughs when the topic of arming teachers and school safety was brought up.
“I’m very worried about keeping kids safe in school but I don’t think arming teachers is the way to do it,” Green said. “My mom was an excellent teacher for 36 years but she can’t change her TV from cable to DVD without losing her mind and calling for help. So pardon me, if I don’t think giving her a Glock would make schools safer.
“I’d also worry about her TV,” he ended with, drawing a laugh.
Also discussed was the transition in leadership now with the departure of Greitens and the ascension of former Lt. Gov. Mike Parsons.
“He’s a farmer and a former Polk County sheriff,” Green said. “Northland Progress wishes him well and hopes he will chart a new course for the state.”