Fact Check: Governor Parson’s campaign resorts to a new low, lying about Auditor Galloway’s record of results and transparency

September 23, 2020

Independent fact checkers — from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch to KMOV to KMIZ  — have repeatedly found that Uniting Missouri’s ads are filled with false claims about Auditor Nicole Galloway’s record and positions. 

Now, the PAC backing Mike Parson has hit a new low, releasing an ad this morning that is filled with lies, lies, and more lies about Auditor Galloway’s record:

  • The ad claims that the Auditor was sued twice for Sunshine law violations — but neglects to mention that one of those lawsuits came from a GOP-connected dark money group and that Auditor Galloway won both cases. 

  • Even more egregious, Uniting Missouri claims that Auditor Galloway “Didn’t disclose that her husband lobbied for state tax credits.” But in a statement yesterday to The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Greg Steinhoff, Vice President Of Industry And Regulatory Relations For Veterans United Home Loans, said “no member of the Galloway family has ever lobbied the state of Missouri for tax credits on behalf of Veterans United home loans.” Steinhoff is the former director of economic development under Republican Governor Matt Blunt. 

  • The ad makes other false assertions, including that a judge ruled that the Auditor supplied inaccurate fiscal estimates for a 2016 ballot initiative.  It fails to mention that on appeal, the Western District in Kansas City reversed that decision, and ruled that the Auditor’s estimates were accurate.  

“Mike Parson and the Jefferson City insiders backing him are running scared and are willing to lie in order to diminish Auditor Galloway’s track record of results, including 63 criminal counts against corrupt public officials,” said Galloway For Missouri spokesperson Kevin Donohoe. “These latest, politically coordinated, attacks are a new low. Missourians have had enough of politicians who are only in it for themselves and are willing to lie to keep their hold on power, while working families struggle. Missourians want leaders who will finally clean up the Jefferson City swamp — and that’s exactly what Nicole Galloway will do as governor.” 

THE FALSE CLAIM: “She’s been sued twice for Sunshine Law violations.”

THE TRUTH: GALLOWAY HAS WON BOTH CASES — ONE OF WHICH WAS BROUGHT BY A POLITICALLY CONNECTED DARK MONEY GROUP 

  • Case #1 was brought by a politically connected conservative dark-money group. According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, “Few things are more important to Missouri’s democracy than keeping its Sunshine Law robust and ensuring government transparency. But a lawsuit filed by a conservative nonprofit with ties to Gov. Eric Greitens, accusing Missouri Auditor Nicole Galloway and Sen. Rob Schaaf of violating the open-records law, smacks of political shenanigans. It does nothing to uphold the intent or spirit of the law. Filing frivolous lawsuits against state officeholders for political payback is reprehensible. Schaaf and Galloway have been at loggerheads with Greitens for months, and he has publicly berated them. To get even, Greitens’ team would abuse a good law intended to help citizens gain access to government records. Such ploys cost taxpayers money, clog the courts and do nothing to assure government transparency.” [St. Louis Post-Dispatch, July 30, 2017]

  • Galloway WON that case on every single count nearly two years ago. According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, “This Court finds in favor of Defendant State Auditor Nicole Galloway on all claims asserted by Plaintiff Missouri Alliance for Freedom, Inc.” [St. Louis Post-Dispatch, January 28, 2019]

  • Case #2 was brought by the Sheriff of Greene County and Galloway WON that case too. According to the Ozarks Independent, “Judge Jon Beetem agreed with Galloway, saying the documents would have revealed the whistleblower’s identity, and therefore her actions were justified under the state’s Sunshine Law whistleblower protections. ‘The court’s ruling upholds this office’s legal duty to protect those who report government waste, fraud and abuse,’ Galloway said in a press statement after the ruling. ‘Taxpayers have a right to hold their government accountable. When whistleblowers come forward to my office, they expect protection. Without the information provided by whistleblowers and the legal safeguards that shield those individuals, the audit of Greene County may not have happened.’ Greene County Sheriff Arnott responded to the suit this afternoon in a statement he sent to OI. Arnott said that he disagrees with the decision, and believes that a Court of Appeals would disagree with the decision, but because he feels it’s ‘time to move forward’ he will not appeal the judge’s ruling.” [Ozarks Independent, 12/5/19

  • Circuit Judge Jon E Beetem: “The Court finds that the Auditor is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED, ADJUDGED AND DECREED that Judgment be and is hereby entered in favor of Defendant Auditor Nicole Galloway on all issues.” [Case No. 17AC-CC00637

THE FALSE CLAIM: “Galloway didn’t disclose that her husband lobbied for state tax credits.”

THE TRUTH: According To Veterans United, “No Member Of The Galloway Family Has Ever Lobbied The State Of Missouri For Tax Credits On Behalf Of Veterans United Home Loans.”

  • Greg Steinhoff, Vice President Of Industry And Regulatory Relations For Veterans United Home Loans And Former Director Of Economic Development Under GOP Governor Matt Blunt Said: “No Member Of The Galloway Family Has Ever Lobbied The State Of Missouri For Tax Credits On Behalf Of Veterans United Home Loans.” According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, “Greg Steinhoff, vice president of industry and regulatory relations for Veterans United Home Loans, said in a statement: ‘No member of the Galloway family has ever lobbied the State of Missouri for tax credits on behalf of Veterans United Home Loans. Veterans United Home Loans, like many successful Missouri businesses, has participated in the Missouri Department of Economic Development’s Missouri Works Program. This program has helped our business create thousands of new jobs in our state — having grown from approximately 1,200 employees in 2013 to more than 3,700 employees today,’ said Steinhoff, who served as director of the Department of Economic Development under Republican Gov. Matt Blunt. ‘The tax credits offered through the program have not only made staying in Missouri an easy decision, but has also helped facilitate recent expansions to Springfield and St. Louis with the support of the administration,’ he said.” [St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 9/22/20]

  • A Previous Ad By Uniting Missouri Attacked Galloway’s Husband for His Work for Veterans United Home Loans, a Columbia Based Company That Provides Home Loans to Veterans. According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, “The ad also claims Galloway’s family has ‘gotten rich’ from lobbying for $11 million in tax breaks. Asked for more information, Mike Berg, spokesman for Uniting Missouri, noted that Galloway’s husband, Jonathan Galloway, was a registered lobbyist for the Mortgage Research Center, also known as Columbia-based Veterans United Home Loans, from September 2013 to March 2015.” [St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 9/22/20] 

  • A Spokesman For Uniting Missouri Didn’t Provide Any Information Showing That Galloway’s Family Had ‘Gotten Rich’ Via Jon Galloway’s Work. The Ad Didn't Mention That Jon Galloway Was Worked For A Mortgage Company Specializing In Veterans Home Loans, Or That The Credits Were For Workforce Development Efforts, Something Parson Has Long Touted. According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, “Veterans United received $11 million from the state’s Quality Jobs and Missouri Works programs in 2013, according to the Missouri Accountability Portal. Berg didn’t provide any information showing that Galloway’s family had ‘gotten rich’ via Jon Galloway’s lobbying.The ad doesn’t mention that Jon Galloway was lobbying for a mortgage company specializing in veterans home loans, or that the credits were for workforce development efforts, something Parson has long touted. The Galloway campaign said the ad ‘falsely claims that Auditor Galloway’s husband lobbied for or benefited from tax credits his employer received.’” [St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 9/22/20]  

THE FALSE CLAIM: “The Board of Accountancy has a serious, active complaint against Galloway.”

THE TRUTH: This is a coordinated political attack from Governor Parson and his insider-funded PAC. Former Attorney General Josh Hawley sent this letter after reporting from an audit found wrongdoing in his attorney general’s office. [St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 8/7/20 

THE FALSE CLAIM: “A Missouri judge declared Galloway's work unfair and insufficient.”

THE TRUTH: A Missouri Court of Appeals later overturned the decision calling the estimates unfair and insufficient. Furthermore, the estimates the judge originally took issue with were in part informed by estimates done by the Graves Garett law firm. 

  • The judge’s ruling that the fiscal note was unfair and insufficient was overruled on appeal. According to the Fulton Sun, “On July 8, a three-judge panel of the Missouri court of appeals' Western District in Kansas City reversed Green's ruling, saying the auditor's fiscal note was OK, but the secretary of state's language in the second bullet point wasn't good enough.” [Fulton Sun, 8/21/16]

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