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Secretary of state investigating Hawley’s use of funds

Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft’s office has launched an investigation into whether Attorney General Josh Hawley used public funds for campaign purposes.

The American Democracy Legal Fund, which requested the investigation last month, provided a letter from Ashcroft’s office dated Thursday confirming the investigation.

“Pursuant to section 115.642, RSMo, this office will commence an investigation into the alleged offense,” Ashcroft’s deputy legal counsel, Khristine Heisinger, wrote in the letter.

The statute referenced in the letter outlines the Secretary of State’s Office complaint and investigation process. State law prohibits the use of public funds for campaigning.

Ashcroft’s office in the letter asks the American Democracy Legal Fund to provide documents to assist in the investigation.

The fund wrote to Ashcroft’s office Nov. 2, four days before the November general election in which Hawley defeated incumbent U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, requesting the investigation.

“Evidence strongly suggests that Hawley used public funds as Attorney General to support his candidacy for U.S. Senate, by instructing political consultants to direct state, taxpayer-paid staff to undertake tasks that would raise Hawley’s profile in his bid to represent Missouri in the U.S. Senate,” the American Democracy Legal Fund wrote in its complaint to Ashcroft’s office.

The complaint cites an Oct. 31 Kansas City Star story about campaign consultants’ relationship with Hawley’s office.

“We are delighted to cooperate with the Secretary of State’s Office and put these ridiculous allegations to bed once and for all,” said Mary Compton, a spokeswoman for Hawley’s office. “These allegations are totally meritless and nothing more than a partisan attempt to slander the work of the Attorney General’s Office. As we have said before, no taxpayer resources were ever expended for campaign purposes. And no government employees ever participated in campaign or political activities.”

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