Revenue Department Director Resigns Amid Data Controversy
JEFFERSON CITY - Department of Revenue Director Brian K. Long handed in his resignation Monday amid the controversy over his department's release of a list of concealed-carry permit holder.
Gov. Jay Nixon's office said in a news release Long's resignation took effect immediately. Nixon named Deputy Director John Mollenkamp acting director. Mollenkamp has served as deputy director since 2011.
Long's resignation comes just hours after Missouri State Highway Patrol Superintendent Col. Ron Replogle said he would not resign, despite the controversy.
During testimony last week, the Missouri Department of Revenue revealed it had sent a list of all of Missouri's concealed-carry permit holders to the Highway Patrol, which then forwarded it to the Social Security Administration as part of a fraud investigation. Replogle initially testified the administration was unable to read the disc containing the list, but the Social Security Administration later said it read the data and then destroyed the disc. Then Monday, the agency changed its story and said it was not in fact able to read it.
Long's resignation is the latest development in a growing controversy over how the Department of Revenue treats Missourians' private data. Testimony in front of the Senate Appropriations Committee last week revealed the agency had started requiring Missourians to bring in proof of identity and residency, such as a birth certificate and utility bill, every time they reapplied for a state ID such as a drivers' license. Those documents are scanned into a central database along with any data to go on the ID, after which the ID is mailed to the person. The Department of Revenue insists the measure is meant to prevent fraud. State law requires the department to announce changes like this ahead of time, but the department's legal counsel told the committee the agency chose not to due to administrative burden. Legislation passed the House last week that would ban collecting data like this and order the database deleted.
On the Senate floor Monday evening, Sen. Kurt Schaefer, R-Columbia, who is leading the Senate's investigation, said Long had been "thrown under the bus" and his resignation does not solve anything.
Both the Department of Revenue and the governor's office refused to comment further for this story.