New: Missouri’s new auditor vows to keep politics out of audits

State Auditor Tom Schweich on Wednesday unveiled his top management team that includes three who had worked for his predecessor former Democratic auditor, Susan Montee.

His team also includes a couple of top staffers for Republicans like the former Senate GOP leader, lieutenant governor and former governor Matt Blunt.

Schweich at a news conference vowed to keep politics out of auditing.

“I’m not going to be a partisan auditor. I’m going to call them exactly like I see them,” Schweich said in response to whether he would use his office to go after Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon, who will be up for re-election in less than two years.

“That’s an insult to the people of Missouri. It’s an abrogation of the responsibilities of the office. It’s a discredit to the career people that here … if I used this as some sort of political tool. It’s not going to happen, ever.”

Schweich also said he did not plan to seek policy changes with audits, as a few auditors had sought in past years.

“I am not trying to make policy. I’m not trying to take over the governor’s job or the legislature’s job. They’ve got plenty to do and I’ve got plenty to do without doing that,” Schweich said.

“What I see it as is the taxpayer watchdog, the person that is responsible for going in and letting the people of Missouri know if their government is functioning effectively.”

The approach of trying to affect public policy was started by the late George Lehr who became auditor in 1975. He used his office to push for legislative action in areas such as consumer protection and the property tax system.

Schweich, 50, was sworn in as the new Missouri auditor at noon on Monday in the Capitol’s rotunda.

It is Schweich’s first foray into elected politics. He defeated Montee for the position in the November mid-term election.

Schweich graduated from Clayton High School in St. Louis, then went to school on the East Coast where he graduated with a bachelor’s in history from Yale in 1982 and a law degree from Harvard three years later.

He previously was employed for 20 years as an attorney at the Bryan Cave Law Firm in St. Louis.

Schweich, his wife, Kathy, and children Emilie and Thomas, Jr., live in St. Louis.

— Missouri Digital News