The following statement was recently released by the Cass County Auditor’s Office and Auditor Ron Johnson in response to a statement made to media by the Cass County Prosecutor’s Office on Sept. 13, in regard to recent nepotism allegations made by Cass County Auditor Ron Johnson of County Clerk Janet Burlingame.
In the April 5, 2011 election the Cass County Clerk appointed her niece to be an election judge according to the Cass County Prosecutor, and this action occurred within the current term. The Cass County Clerk’s niece was paid for her term as an election judge by the election authority from the Election Fund. The fundamental facts above are not in question according to the Cass County Prosecutor and nepotism was committed.
The Cass County Clerk would have violated the nepotism clause of the Missouri Constitution by having her niece as an election judge, but for the fact that Section 115.101 RSMO provides an exception to the nepotism clause for county clerk appointments of election judges.
What is in question is Article 7, Section 6 of the Missouri Constitution being changed by a prosecutor’s press release, based on the improper assumption that RSMO 115.101 is an exception and has the authority to amend the Missouri Constitution without a vote of the people.
The Election Compensation Statute “RSMO 115.101” is used by Prosecutor Teresa Hensley even though it is contrary to the Missouri Constitution’s nepotism law as Written in Article 7, Section 6.
Prosecutor Hensley has either purposefully or willfully ignored the legislative intent of sections 115.001 to 115.641 which was to simplify, clarify and harmonize the laws governing elections not change the Missouri Constitution.
Prosecutor Hensley gives overriding legal power to RSMO 115.101 thus not harmonizing, clarifying, or simplifying the issue at hand. Thus ignoring the legislative directive that is clearly stated by RSMO 115.003, “It shall be construed and applied so as to accomplish its purpose,” instead Hensley claims there was no violation of the Missouri Constitution instead an exception.
Furthermore it clearly states in RSMO 115.005 that the scope of 115.001 through 115.641 will not override or even be contrary to any other law.
The Auditor’s office does not believe that the Missouri Constitution can or should be changed without a vote of the people or a holding of the Supreme Court.
To allow the County Clerk “Election Authority” to appoint their relatives as election judges could potentially adulterate the integrity of this state’s future elections.
The Missouri Constitution’s language is clear, the penalty is clear, and the result of violating has already been mandated by a vote of the people in 1945 and never amended by the people.