VERIFY: Attacks from St. Louis mayoral debate stage mostly true
The 5 On Your Side Verify team looked at what the St. Louis Mayor candidates were saying to see if they were telling the truth about their records and each other
ST. LOUIS – In the final debate between the two candidates for Mayor of St. Louis, both candidates made allegations about how the other conducts the business of the public in their current roles. The 5 On Your Side Verify team is reviewing some of these claims as voters prepare to vote in the April 6 election.
Is it true that government audits have a “track record of awarding no-bids”?
First, St. Louis Councilor Cara Spencer mentioned in her inaugural speeches and several times during the debate that St. Louis Treasurer Tishaura Jones had issued unconditional contracts through her office. She cited the state auditor’s office as the source of that claim.
A reading of the September 2020 exam for the St. Louis City Treasurer’s Office finds support for this claim.
It confirms: “The Treasury has not obtained any offers or suggestions for purchases or services for 17 of the 26 issues as of June 2019 that have been audited.”
These no-bid contracts totaled nearly $ 1 million.
The auditor’s report also stated the reasons they received from the treasurer’s office as to why these expenses were not offered.
The treasurer’s office stated that some decisions, such as legal representation, were based on expertise. Other contracts were handled by consultancies that carried out the tender and the audit found that some services will be offered later.
Is it true that the auditor gave the treasurer’s office “the second highest rating for this audit”?
Jones defended her position, according to Spencer’s statements, by stating that her position had received the second highest rating from the auditor.
The September 2020 audit also confirms this claim.
There are four levels of assessment for a state examination: Excellent, Good, Fair and Bad. The Treasurer’s Office received a rating of Good in September, which according to the audit means, “The audit results show that this company is being run well.”
The full report elaborates on the auditor’s findings, stating, “In the areas audited, we have identified (1) deficiencies in internal controls, (2) non-compliance with legal requirements, and (3) the need to improve management practices and practices Procedure. “
Is it true that Cara Spencer “did not report $ 13,000 in contributions to her own campaign,” which resulted in an ethics filing?
Jones responded to criticism of Spencer by claiming the alder woman failed to report thousands of dollars in contributions to her campaign for the mayor. According to documents on the Missouri Ethics Commission website, this is partially correct.
Spencer’s campaign reported on March 29 that it received $ 13,351 in contributions from February 20 to March 1 of this year.
However, since these submissions were received within 11 days of the initial submission and were all greater than $ 250 each, state law requires the campaign to send a statement to the MEC within 24 hours of receipt.
This means that the statement on the MEC website showing these posts is between four and five weeks late.
A local lawyer and Jones supporter posted on Twitter that she had filed a complaint with the Missouri Ethics Commission about the March 29 posts.
However, documents from the commission state that they will not accept ethical complaints against a candidate in the 15 days leading up to an election, which means that the complaint must be filed after the election in order to be investigated.
Is it true that the documents Jones mentioned were “one day late”?
Spencer defended her campaign during the debate, saying, “There was not a single post to my campaign that was not reported.”
It is correct that these contributions have now been reported to the MEC. However, when Spencer realized that Jones was “conflict”[ing] one day late in submitting a campaign entry … failing to conduct fair and open bidding processes, ”this statement could be misleading. The statements made by the Spencer campaign to the MEC were not “a day too late”.