Mo. Lawmakers Heated Over Revenue Dept’s Changing Story
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (KMOX/MDN) — Earlier this week, KMOX told you about allegations that the state was creating a database of gun owners.
Now, Missouri lawmakers say the Department of Revenue lied about that and is breaking the law, because they’re collecting certain personal information from everyone.
Missouri senators spoke out in the chamber Wednesday.
Senate Appropriations chairman Kurt Schaefer said the department has lied to him three times now.
“This marks the third time I’ve been lied to in two weeks,” announced Schaefer.
The department first told Schaefer it received a grant from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security that was not related to the gathering of information at license offices.
Later, the department told him the grant was used for hole punchers to void old licenses. The hole punchers were bought at 138 bucks a pop.
In a later hearing, the department then said the grant was used for gathering information at license offices, leaving Schaefer furious.
Schaefer said this practice breaks a Missouri law, and he fears the department is selling the personal information. But in multiple hearings the director of the department said the department is not and has no intention of giving this information to the feds.
The deputy director of the Missouri Department of Revenue, John Mollenkamp, says the department sends the information to a database to verify identification to prevent fraud.
Republican Senator Mike Parson says this punishes law abiding citizens, and it puts them at risk of their information being exposed if the database is breached.
“But whether you like it or not, you now obtained that information and you have the responsibility of that information, which makes everybody at risk,” said Parson. “I don’t know why we want to put Missouri citizens at risk when we don’t have to.”
Deputy Director John Mollenkamp says the agreement the Revenue Department has with the vendor that gets the information is that the vendor has to delete the citizen’s information after it is verified.
But Mollenkamp says the only confirmation the department has received that the information is deleted, is by word of mouth.
Washington Senator Brian Nieves said the situation would be just as infuriating if it had happened under a Republican administration. “All that matters is that the executive branch of the Missouri state government is thumbing it’s nose at the law.”
Several lawmakers vowed to take up the issue again at a later date.
We have left messages with the Department of Revenue, but so far they have not responded.
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