201 West Capitol Avenue
Jefferson City, MO 65101-6806
2602 E. Main, Bethany, MO 64424
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What's Going on at the Department of Revenue?
Over the course of the last month it has been brought to the attention of the legislature the Dept. of Revenue has been collecting personal data of Missourians from our drivers licenses and concealed carry permits. This action is blatantly illegal and even after we in the General Assembly subpoenaed the department to investigate the matter, they have been evading our attempts to garner as much information as possible about their actions. To add insult to injury, we discovered today the Nixon administration has been coordinating with the federal government thru the Dept. of Public Safety to hand over lists of CCW permit holders! This action is also illegal based on laws we passed in Missouri back in 2009. Here is a brief history of the issue and our actions in the legislature to protect Missouri's private information, so you know what's actually going on.
In 2005 the federal Real ID Act was passed by Congress under the premise of enhancing security and safety for Americans.
Many states, after reviewing the language felt the law was too intrusive and put individual citizens' privacy at risk. In response a majority of states passed laws prohibiting their own departments from complying with the federal law.
In 2009 Missouri passed HB361, adding them to the list of states that were not going to comply the Real ID Act. By passing this legislation, we effectively decided as a state to protect our citizens privacy and prohibit the federal government from gaining access to our state's files. This prevents the federal government from building databases to include our citizenry. I was proud to support this legislation in 2009 and voted to pass this into law.
Despite the legislature passing the law and it going into effect, the Nixon administration decided to adopt various rule changes and collaborate with the federal government anyway! Because of these changes within the department last year, MO Dept. of Revenue issued this letter indicating they were going to be making changes to the renewal process that are very much like the procedures used in Real ID. They also issued this sample ID which looks very similar to other IDs that are compliant with Real ID. After the individual license offices began scanning our personal documents, it didn't take long for us to put "two and two" together to figure out what has taken place. In effect, the Nixon administration decided to ignore our 2009 law and hand over Missourian's information to the federal government anyway!
Early in 2013 a man in Stoddard County MO refused to comply with the renewal process of handing over his source documents to be copied and sent to the fee office contractor's remote location in Georgia for verification. As a result, Eric Griffin, the Plaintiff was denied a license and subsequently filed an injunction against the fee office and Dept. of Revenue. If you read the article below the Dept. of Revenue maintains this transition has nothing to do with Real ID, however a number of other questions arise.
In March 2013 my colleagues and I began receiving contacts from our constituents regarding the license renewal process and questioned the Dept. of Revenue at a legislative hearing. After getting unsatisfactory and then conflicting answers from the Dept. Sen. Schaeffer from Columbia then had a subpoena issued for all the documents from the Dept. of Revenue regarding the issue.
Currently, we in the legislature are in the midst of going through these documents to see what they reveal. However, based on what we have heard from Jefferson City so far there is definitely reason to be concerned. Here are a couple of the issues that have risen off the top of my head:
1) A number of state agencies are potentially involved in this scheme as federal money was transferred through them to the Dept. of Revenue to pay for some of the new license implementation process.
2) Based on the testimony from a number of individuals with first-hand knowledge of what the department is up to, the process for document collection has not been explained to people as they apply.
3) The Department itself has not acknowledged destruction of any documents being sent to the remote location by the vendor other than a phone call.
4) There are other state laws that may be in violation as they relate to equipment purchasing and destruction that would involve the vendor, whether it be hole punches or video cameras.
5) There is some cause for concern over identity theft because the people actually handling these documents are not government employees, but private vendors.
I am committed to protecting your privacy and preventing the Governor's administration from further participating in a nationwide database. Considering the many issues at hand relating to gun control efforts by President Obama and Congress, the gravity of the situation cannot be overstated. The U.S. Attorney General himself admitted this week that a national gun registry is the goal of President Obama. Considering how well these executive orders dovetail with 'Obamacare' we are witnessing what has obviously been a strategic plan for gun control in America. As long as I'm in office, I pledge to fight any and all efforts to place restrictions on gun ownership and prevent the federal government from gaining access to my constituents personal information. These are concerning times, but with bi-partisan support shown in the legislature this week on these issues I am encouraged we will ultimately meet success in protecting Missouri's citizens. Please call or write me anytime with thoughts or suggestions on this or any other matter.
Representative Casey Guernsey
Proudly Serving the 3rd House District
Daviess, DeKalb, Gentry, and Harrison Counties
Missouri House of Representatives