License offices cloaked in mystery

Source: By Jo Mannies, St. Louis POST-DISPATCH, 04/18/2006

Missouri’s fee offices, which have long been a sitting governor’s most lucrative way to reward political allies, have again touched off controversy. Amid unconfirmed reports of a federal investigation, both major parties attempted Tuesday to put their own spin on how Gov. Matt Blunt has doled out the state’s contracts for the 183 offices, which dispense drivers licenses and vehicle plates. The debate is expected to heat up in a few weeks, when state Auditor Claire McCaskill’s office releases its audit on 11 of the largest fee offices, which used to be branches of the Department of Revenue. …… The state Democratic Party and a prominent party activist, Roy Temple, have assembled a list of the firms from state corporation records. Temple has posted many of those records on his blog site, firedupmissouri.com. The lack of official information has frustrated McCaskill. Her audit, to be released in May or June, will deal largely with the transfer of the 11 branch offices into private hands.