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Mo. House Committee Grills Nixon Officials Over Scanning Documents & Release Of Conceal-Carry List

Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

A Missouri House committee looking into the Department of Revenue's now-defunct policy of scanning documents of driver's license applicants is finally hearing from top officials from Governor Jay Nixon's office.

The committee tried to force the officials to appear via subpoena, but they are now coming voluntarily since the Governor signed a new law that bans scanning of applicants' documents.  Most of the questions asked on the first day focused on two areas:  Whether Nixon Administration officials broke the law when Missouri's entire list of conceal-carry holders was provided to a federal investigator, and whether Nixon officials encouraged or directed DOR employees to implement the federal Real ID Act of 2005.

Thefirst person to appear Tuesday before the House Bipartisan Investigative Committee on Privacy Protection was Office of Administration Commissioner Doug Nelson.  He testified that they have not been trying to circumvent a 2009 state law barring compliance with the Real ID Act, and that any driver's license changes that lined up with Real ID requirements were a coincidence, not deliberate.

"I don't know specifically what those steps were, I don't know how they meet the check list of Real ID," Nelson said.  "But I think the testimony from the Acting Director (John Mollenkamp) and from (Div. of Motor Vehicles Director) JackieBemboomwas that when they took these steps, it wasn't to comply with Real ID."

As for the release of the state's list of conceal-carry holders, Nelson says no laws were broken there, either.

"When a law enforcement agency makes a request to a bureaucratic agency, it is not, and I think case law supports this, it is not the role of the bureaucrat to question what law enforcement requests – it is to provide it," Nelson said.

State Representative Nick Marshall (R, Parkville) was not satisfied.  He accused the Nixon Administration of not respecting the private information of Missouri citizens when it released the state's conceal-carry list.

Committee members also questioned other officials today, including ChrisPieper, a senior advisor to Governor Nixon who formerly served as legislative liaison for the Department of Revenue.  Moremembers of Nixon's current and former staff are scheduled to testify Wednesday.

Follow Marshall Griffin on Twitter:  @MarshallGReport

Copyright 2013 St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis Public Radio State House Reporter Marshall Griffin is a native of Mississippi and proud alumnus of Ole Miss (welcome to the SEC, Mizzou!). He has been in radio for over 20 years, starting out as a deejay. His big break in news came when the first President Bush ordered the invasion of Panama in 1989. Marshall was working the graveyard shift at a rock station, and began ripping news bulletins off an old AP teletype and reading updates between songs. From there on, his radio career turned toward news reporting and anchoring. In 1999, he became the capital bureau chief for Florida's Radio Networks, and in 2003 he became News Director at WFSU-FM/Florida Public Radio. During his time in Tallahassee he covered seven legislative sessions, Governor Jeb Bush's administration, four hurricanes, the Terri Schiavo saga, and the 2000 presidential recount. Before coming to Missouri, he enjoyed a brief stint in the Blue Ridge Mountains, reporting and anchoring for WWNC-AM in Asheville, North Carolina. Marshall lives in Jefferson City with his wife, Julie, their dogs, Max and Liberty Belle, and their cat, Honey.