The Kansas City Star - - Front Page - BY STEVE VOCKRODT, LIND­SAY WISE AND JA­SON HAN­COCK svock­[email protected]­ [email protected]­ jhan­[email protected]­ McClatchy D.C.’s Bryan Lowry con­trib­uted to this re­port.

The Mis­souri sec­re­tary of state is in­ves­ti­gat­ing whether Josh Haw­ley mis­used pub­lic re­sources in his Sen­ate bid.

Mis­souri Sec­re­tary of State Jay Ashcroft has launched an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into a com­plaint that Mis­souri At­tor­ney Gen­eral Josh Haw­ley used pub­lic re­sources in his suc­cess­ful bid for the U.S. Sen­ate.

The Amer­i­can Democ­racy Le­gal Fund on Nov. 2 filed a com­plaint with Ashcroft, claim­ing that Haw­ley used out-of-state po­lit­i­cal con­sul­tants to di­rect the ac­tiv­i­ties of pub­lic em­ploy­ees in the at­tor­ney gen­eral’s of­fice to raise Haw­ley’s po­lit­i­cal pro­file as he pre­pared to mount a cam­paign for U.S. Sen­ate.

“Josh Haw­ley’s fla­grant abuse of his tax­payer funded of­fice for his own po­lit­i­cal gain de­serves im­me­di­ate in­ves­ti­ga­tion,” said Brad Wood­house, ADLF pres­i­dent, in a state­ment. “We’re heart­ened to see Sec­re­tary of State Ashcroft give this racket fur­ther scru­tiny.”

Haw­ley’s of­fice said they wel­comed the in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

“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 the Mis­souri At­tor­ney Gen­eral’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.”

Ashcroft and Haw­ley are both Repub­li­cans.

The com­plaint from ALDF, a Demo­cratic group, was based largely on re­port­ing by The Star, which in an Oct. 31 ar­ti­cle de­tailed how po­lit­i­cal con­sul­tants steered the at­tor­ney gen­eral’s of­fice un­der Haw­ley’s watch. The Star ob­tained emails, text mes­sages and other records show­ing that Timmy Tee­p­ell and Gail Gitcho, po­lit­i­cal con­sul­tants from Louisiana and Mas­sachusetts, ex­erted in­flu­ence in the at­tor­ney gen­eral’s of­fice to the point that some staff be­came un­cer­tain about the chain of com­mand in the of­fice.

The ar­ti­cle also de­tailed how Haw­ley, with the help of his con­sul­tants, sought to raise his po­lit­i­cal pro­file, a stark con­trast to his mes­sage dur­ing his 2016 cam­paign for at­tor­ney gen­eral that he was not an­other lad­der-climb­ing po­lit­i­can con­tin­u­ally try­ing to reach higher of­fice.

“This con­sti­tutes a mis­use of pub­lic funds,” the Amer­i­can Democ­racy Le­gal Fund’s com­plaint says.

Haw­ley de­feated Demo­cratic in­cum­bent Claire McCaskill on Nov. 6

The Star has ob­tained a copy of a let­ter sent by Ashcroft’s of­fice to the Amer­i­can Democ­racy Le­gal Fund, con­firm­ing the in­ves­ti­ga­tion and re­quest­ing copies of any doc­u­ments or any first­hand knowl­edge the or­ga­ni­za­tion had to sup­port its com­plaint against Haw­ley.

Ashcroft’s of­fice has au­thor­ity to in­ves­ti­gate elec­tion-re­lated of­fenses but lacks sub­poena power, ac­cord­ing to an email that Ashcroft’s of­fice sent to The Star last month.

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