ST. LOUIS–(KMOX)–State Auditor Tom Schweich announces he’ll audit the Department of Revenue to find out if personal information from driver’s licences and concealed gun applications is being shared with the federal government.
The Republican auditor says he was urged to do some digging in a letter signed by thirteen Republican State Senators, led by Senator Kurt Schaefer.
“And their concern is some information in documents they’ve received that maybe there is some sharing of the information,” Schweich said.
Aware that the probe could resemble a partisan fishing expedition, Schweich says he’s not doing the audit for the Republican party.
“We’re just going to find the right answers. There’s no partisanship in this, at all,” Schweich said.
The issue first surfaced weeks ago, when Republican state senators, citing “sources,” said data is being shared with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security when Missouri residents apply for a driver’s licence or concealed gun permit.
Denying those allegations, Revenue Department officials testified some weeks ago before the Missouri Senate.
Deputy Revenue Director John Mollenkamp said the state recently began contracting with MorphoTrust USA to make the licenses instead of doing so at individual license offices to save money. Local license clerks now scan the applicant’s personal documents into a computer instead of just looking at them.
Those digital documents are then transmitted electronically along with other applicant information to a state data center. Mollenkamp said the scanned documents are retained by the state while other basic information is forwarded to MorphoTrust. The contractor is supposed to delete the information after printing and mailing an individual’s driver’s license, he said.
Lobbyist Richard McIntosh, who works for MorphoTrust, said the Billerica, Mass.-based company takes the privacy and security of the information very, very seriously and doesn’t share the data with other entities.
But Schweich says those assurances aren’t good enough to the thirteen Republican Senators who urged him to investigate.
“I believe that Senator Schaefer was very dissatisfied with some of the testimony before his committee,” Schweich said, “He believes there were inconsistencies, and they didn’t get straight answers.”
Schweich says he will use all the tools at his disposal to find out whether the information is being shared with the feds.
“We have complete access to all documents, data bases, computer systems,” Schweich said, “So, we’ll be able to track any communications, any transfers of data, either from the individual fee offices or from the Department of Revenue in Jefferson City.”