State Auditor Nicole Galloway on Friday accused Gov. Mike Parson of lying about her practices for sending messages to office employees and demanded he retract his statements.

State Auditor Nicole Galloway on Friday accused Gov. Mike Parson of lying about her practices for sending messages to office employees and demanded he retract his statements.

Under questioning from journalists assembled at the Governor's Mansion for Missouri Press Association and The Associated Press Day at the Capitol, Parson said Galloway has used a telephone app that encrypts and destroys messages. He also said Galloway was trying to make political points by criticizing his office's Sunshine Law practices.

"We've never been to court on, whether it's the apps that everybody was using in there; and I would make the point that Galloway was, one of the decisions she made was, using the app the other governor got caught with, and there were court cases over that," Parson said.

He was referring to the message-deleting Confide app used by former Gov. Eric Greitens and several of his aides.

In an interview Friday, Galloway said she had never used Confide or any other application that automatically deletes messages.

"The Attorney General's office was asked by a dark money group to investigate this exact issue," Galloway said. "Attorney General Hawley specifically investigated whether I or my staff used Confide and found we had not. When he is dishonest and says things that are not true, it is unbelievable he would send out false information like that."

Galloway, in her second term as auditor, is seeking the Democratic nomination to run against Parson in November. Neither Galloway nor Parson has major opposition in their party primaries.

Kelli Jones, Parson's communications director, did not respond to phone calls or email messages seeking comment.

Greitens' use of the Confide app was first reported in 2017 by the Kansas City Star. That revelation sparked an investigation by then-Attorney General Josh Hawley into whether the message-deleting program was used to prevent disclosure of his discussions with staff and political backers under the Sunshine Law.

While Hawley ultimately concluded that Greitens had not violated the law, a case filed by attorney Ben Sansone of the Sunshine Project is pending in Cole County Circuit Court. Defending Greitens' use of the app has cost the state almost $400,000.

In December 2017, the conservative group Missouri Alliance for Freedom filed a complaint with the Attorney General's Office asking it to investigate Galloway. The organization asked whether she had conducted business on her private cell phone, whether she or a top aide had deleted text messages about public business from her state or private phone and whether she had used Confide or a similar program.

Hawley's report, issued Feb. 1, 2018, concluded that Galloway had conducted all her public business on her state-paid phone. It found that some messages, for scheduling and other matters that the law did not require her to retain, had been deleted after 30 days by the phone's default setting.

Messages that were required to be retained were included in the files of the auditor's office, the report stated.

"An inspection of all (State Auditor's Office) state-issued cellular phones confirmed that Confide was not installed on any of those phones," the report stated.

The Missouri Alliance for Freedom sued Galloway, accusing her of violating the Sunshine Law in her responses to the group's requests. In a judgment issued Tuesday, Cole County Circuit Judge Jon Beetem ruled that her office had complied with the law and retained all text messages required by public records laws.

Galloway has criticized Parson for censoring identifying information of private citizens who contact the governor's office from responses to Sunshine requests. After Galloway requested a formal opinion on the issue last year, Republican Attorney General Eric Schmitt in August directed Parson's office not to use the First Amendment to justify those redactions.

Parson's remarks about Galloway came when he was asked Thursday about whether his office would continue the practice of removing the identifying information.

"I feel like we are as open as we can possibly be," Parson said.

Galloway's criticism, he said, is standard fare for a political campaign.

In the interview, Galloway said Parson should join her supporting legislation pending in the Missouri House that would ban public officials from using technology that encrypts and destroys messages.

He should also stop saying she has used such apps, Galloway said.

"He should stop lying about me and he should be asked by the media why he was dishonest with them," Galloway said.