Speaker Forms Committee to Investigate Data Release

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JEFFERSON CITY - Republican House Speaker Tim Jones announced the next step Monday in the investigation of the Missouri concealed-carry permit data that was released to the Social Security Administration. Jones told reporters at a news conference he has formed an independent committee to figure out why, how and who is responsible for releasing this data.

The Missouri Department of Revenue has been recording personal data about those with concealed-carry permits. The Social Security Administration then requested this information. While investigators there called the list "unreadable," lawmakers like Jones believe releasing it to the federal government was a breach of the public's trust, something he said he wants to ensure never happens again.

"Our goal is to ensure this will not happen again by discovering the truth of this scandal, determining who is responsible and setting up new policies to protect Missourians' private info from ever again being misused by the government," Jones said.

The committee will be made up of legislators, law enforcement officials and attorneys. Some of those already appointed include Stoddard County prosecuting attorney Russ Oliver, Sheriff Stuart Miller of Audrain County and Omar Davis, a former director of the Department of Revenue. Their role will be to investigate the circumstances leading up to and including the release of more than 163,000 permit records, determine if any of that information is still available, examine the relevant state laws, policies and procedures to determine if any were broken, and find out who is responsible.

Lawmakers across the aisle are in agreement with Jones' decision to form the commission.

"We cant know everything and this is an acknowledgement that there are lots of people who have lots of expertise that we don't have and to bring that expertise together is helpful," Rep.Chris Kelly, D-Columbia, said.

However, Kelly pointed out no law was broken, but admits the laws regarding the recording and release of this type of information need to be fixed.

Jones said the committee must submit a report with its findings by September 1.