One day after a Missouri House committee issued subpoenas to several members of Democratic Governor Jay Nixon's administration, a Cole County judge has issued a preliminary order blocking the subpoenas.
The subpoenas had been issued by the Republican-dominated House Bipartisan Investigative Committee on Privacy Protection. The committee has been looking into the Department of Revenue's scanning of documents of driver's license and conceal-carry applicants. But Judge Daniel Green quashed the subpoenas for the time being, without explanation.
House Speaker Tim Jones, a Republican from Eureka, authorized the subpoenas. He says the committee is just looking for answers.
"As to why the Department of Revenue is illegally continuing to scan Missourians' private information," Jones says, "and why the Nixon administration allowed the entire conceal-carry database to be released to a federal bureaucrat."
Revenue officials maintain that they are not breaking the law and that scanning and storing documents helps them combat fraud.
State Representative Stanley Cox is Republican from Sedalia and chairs the committee. He calls the Democratic Governor's refusal to honor the subpoenas a delaying tactic.
"Somehow, if you delay this long enough, the time frame in which this rather large committee has to function ends, and you don't get to the truth," Cox says. "So maybe that’s the goal here."
In its petition to Judge Green, the Nixon Administration argued that the committee is not a legitimate Missouri House committee because its members include non-legislators, and thus does not have the authority to issue subpoenas. Green did not rule on the legitimacy of the committee.