JEFFERSON CITY - Competing watchdogs are butting heads on who can spend government funds and how it can be used.
State Auditor Tom Schweich and Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder are the only two Republican statewide elected government officials in Missouri.
A state audit reported Tuesday it found Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder using thousands from state funds for a website without legal authority to spend the money.
Deputy Auditor Harry Otto Kinder's website would duplicate efforts and dollars spent unnecessarily.
"We had to point out that this new appropriation that the Lieutenant Governor received, the 38,000 dollars, is for a website that can be deemed duplicative, maybe wasteful in itself, because there are websites there," Otto said.
Kinder's campaign committee paid $1,189 for the site. The remaining $36,811 of the $38,000 Otto referenced funds Kinder's employees' salaries.
The Missouri Waste Report website would allow people to report suspected misuse of taxpayer dollars.
Otto said Kinder lacks legal authority to protect the identities of people who report potentially illegal government spending.
The audit reports state law gives statutory protection to citizens who share sensitive or troublesome information about a state or local government agency with the state auditor's office.
The Attorney General, the Department of Social Services, the Department of Labor and the Industrial Relations Division of Workers' Compensation also have authority to investigate fraud and misuse of funds while protecting people's privacy.
Kinder's Communications Director Jay Eastlick released the following statement in response to the audit: “I am pleased to receive a good rating from the Auditor’s office, which shows that our office is well managed and that the fiscal controls we have in place are sound and effective.”