QUESTION: Missouri Department of Revenue Director Brian Long had been on the job for just four months before he resigned abruptly this week. His appointment had come shortly after the agency had launched a new driver's licensing process in which clerks make electronic copies of people's personal documents, such as birth certificates and concealed gun permits, to be saved in a state database. Now the security of these documents — along with Gov. Nixon himself — has come under fire. What's your take on the state's handling of these documents?
Outside agency needs to investigate
Since this is a state-wide issue, and the state is completely incapable of policing itself, I think that Missouri needs an outside agency such as the FBI or the IRS to investigate who created this catastrophe. They should also have prosecutorial power because it is an invasion of privacy case. Unlawful search and seizure and our privacy are indeed rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution. Any eighth- grader knows that! This makes it a federal crime and as such puts it into the hands of federal prosecutors.
Governor Nixon must also take the lead and set the tone on all issues facing Missourians. He simply cannot be a back seat driver.
Nixon should be let go as governor
I think the state’s handling of this issue is abominable. This flies in the face of every person whose name was on the list the Highway Patrol and DOR sent out. To me, and I am a staunch American in every way, this is clearly indicative of how little respect our government has for us and the laws of this state. These are the people we elected to represent us and they stand there and lie to us, give up our personal information with no discretion and ignore laws already in place to preclude just such an activity. The governor signed a law that was supposed to prevent just this type of action. Then the Dept. of Revenue and the Missouri Highway Patrol just up and decides to release a whole lot of personal information for a whole lot of taxpaying Missourians to the Social Security Administration. Really? What possible excuse did the SSA provide for needing this data? What a crock!
According to Col. Ron Replogle, head of the Highway Patrol, this information was emailed and then snail mailed, via the USPS. He admitted “no guarantees” on the data even having arrived at its intended destination without anyone else seeing it. This clearly violates our privacy. This clearly breaks a law. A Missouri law, one Replogle is sworn to uphold. On this fact alone he should be summarily fired.
Page 2 of 4 - Chris Koster is being tested here. Here we have three highly ranked individuals (Nixon, Replogle and Long) who have very clearly broken Missourian privacy laws and he is obligated to prosecute them. In doing so it will likely end their political careers, which it well should. If he doesn’t, then what does it say about his integrity? Time will tell on this. My money is this will be quietly brushed under the political rug and Koster will publically demonstrate his own lack of integrity, allowing these criminals to continue working in the Missouri Government. At the very minimum they should all be forced to resign and lose all benefits and abilities to hold office of any type in the future. They clearly have demonstrated their complete lack of integrity and ability to work within the laws of this state.
Why should Nixon be let go? Well, he’s, in effect, the CEO of this state. He is the one who is ultimately responsible for what happens with the government in Missouri. He also appointed Replogle and Long; they’re HIS RESPONSIBILITY. If he wasn’t aware of the fact this information was being released, well, he’s incompetent. And if he was aware then he broke his own law and lied to us on national television saying this infraction did not happen. Either way he has failed the State of Missouri.
When do we Americans start holding the politicians accountable for these types of activities? When do we get to implement a ‘zero tolerance’ policy for them? God knows they do it to us. Zero tolerance for speeding, zero tolerance for DUI/BUI, zero tolerance for being late on paying your taxes, zero tolerance for about a million other laws and rules implemented by politicians. And they appear to believe they operate above these laws. No, I have zero tolerance for the complete lack of integrity demonstrated by these 3 stooges. They need to go. And go with shame.
I still stand by my motto: “Politicians are like an infant’s diapers, they should be changed frequently and for that reason” (what are infants diapers usually full of?).
“Going rogue” not a good reason to cross-check
I got the impression from the article by David Lieb in Wednesday's Lake Sun that the controversy was more over the fact that a list of concealed gun permit holders was given to federal investigators. The article contained a quote from an individual who was testifying for a bill that would allow the MO legislature to fire directors when they deem it "necessary". "They've been going rogue up there in the federal government and you don't know what they're going to do with this information" was the individual's testimony.
Page 3 of 4 - But we DID know what "they" were going to do with the list; cross-check it against a Social Security Administration list of people currently collecting disability payments for mental illness. If a name was on both lists either one of two conclusions;
A-The person is getting payments they should not (hence stealing our tax dollars) or
B-they should not have a conceal carry permit.
What responsible U.S. citizen would be against that?
It is appalling that this cross-check could result in the resignation of a director and new power for the state legislature because we feel the federal government is "going rogue."
Taken by itself this would leave most people scratching their heads and wondering why we are so paranoid about a list.
However, to borrow a quote from Charles Blow's April 17, 2013 column in the NY Times; this "..makes sense in a country with nearly as many guns as people, where nearly half of all household have guns in them and where extending federal background check — while supported by the vast majority of the American public — can't make it through the Senate".
It seems ironic (and scary) to me that our regulations on guns are determined by people who justify their position with the need to keep the federal government from "going rogue," it seems to border on treason to me.
Recently a Texas prosecutor, his wife and his assistant were gunned down by a convicted ex-judge with a grudge and 20 guns with thousands of rounds of ammunition. Once this judge was convicted, it would have been useful to know he possessed 20 guns, I'm sure the dead prosecutors who convicted him would have liked to know.
Attorney General needs to prosecute
I'll just bet the conspiracy theorists are going to be contemplating the worst. Any day there will be a knock at the door, not everyone, just those who have a concealed carry permit. There will be a state or federal agent there to ask to see what weapons you have and/or confiscate them. All the while, they will be asking questions to determine your mental capacity and determine whether or not you can legally have a concealed carry permit.
According to the most recent Capitol Connection update from Rocky Miller, the Missouri General Assembly addressed just such an issue in 2009. HB 361 established "no citizens shall have their privacy compromised by the state or agents of the state". This being said, the person or persons responsible at the Dept. of Revenue and State Police need to be brought to task for the illegal release of this information. Will that occur? I rather doubt it, but I'll bet there will be so much finger pointing that serious sprains will occur in Jefferson City.
Page 4 of 4 - Maybe civil action will take place. If and when the citizens of Missouri, who hold concealed carry permits, are identified or addressed by state or federal agencies who have no right or reason to have such information ban together in a class action lawsuit against the state, then maybe the finger pointing will stop and the justice gavel will bang.
Governor Nixon needs Attorney General Koster to bring charges against those who violated the law. Further, Governor Nixon needs to demand that the Social Security Administration return all the illegally attained information they received and ensure that information is not used for any purposes. If necessary, Governor Nixon needs to get Senators Blunt and McCaskill involved.
In the Lake Sun Roundup for April 17, the article regarding Mo. official resigns amid concealed guns flap, had what I found to be an interesting comment. It was stated "they've been going rogue up there in the federal government, and you don't know what they're going to do with this information." Maybe so, but the root of this problem lies in the State of Missouri, not in the federal government. Clean up your own backyard before you go pointing fingers in other directions.