JEFFERSON CITY — Missouri’s treasurer, who is running for state auditor this year, said Wednesday a new ad by his Republican primary opponent is “a lie” that should be taken off the air.
Treasurer Scott Fitzpatrick, who is running against state Rep. David Gregory, R-Sunset Hills, in the Aug. 2 primary, said Gregory lied about his experience as an auditor and accountant in a 15-second spot Gregory released this week.
“He should take the ad down and stop lying to Missouri voters,” Fitzpatrick told the Post-Dispatch on Wednesday.
In the ad, Gregory said he’s an “actual auditor” and goes on to claim the “establishment politician” he’s running against — Fitzpatrick — is “not even an accountant.”
A search for Gregory in the state’s database of certified public accountants turns up no records. (Missouri’s current auditor, Democrat Nicole Galloway, who is not running for reelection, does show up as a licensed CPA in the state database.)
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Asked what made Gregory an accountant, a campaign official said Gregory earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting and a master’s of business administration with an emphasis in accounting.
Asked what made Gregory an auditor, a spokesman for Gregory said he “worked … as an auditor” for Todd Kohlfeld.
“As a Risk Recovery Auditor, he had a great work ethic and was a highly capable professional,” Kohlfeld said, according to a quote provided by Gregory’s campaign.
(Fitzpatrick’s campaign said Gregory was referring to work he performed at the Protiviti firm; he is called an accountant, not an auditor, in a 2016 article mentioning his work at Protiviti.)
Gregory’s campaign also said he pointed out $36 million in possible savings to the state in a 2018 report on the Department of Revenue, which he described as a “fiscal opportunity audit” at the time.
Fitzpatrick’s campaign said the report never resulted in savings to taxpayers.
Gregory also describes himself as an “investigative attorney” on his website.
Asked what that meant, Gregory said in a statement that “My law firm prides itself on conducting thorough investigations for our clients. I conduct financial investigations for clients to uncover fraud and other financial misappropriation.”
Fitzpatrick dismissed the explanations from Gregory and his campaign.
“David Gregory is a trial attorney, not a certified auditor or CPA. His ad is a lie,” Fitzpatrick said in a statement to the Post-Dispatch on Wednesday.
“I have spent my entire career building the business I started as a teenager from the ground up, and as state Budget Chairman and State Treasurer, my oversight work has actually resulted in tens of millions of dollars in savings for Missouri taxpayers,” Fitzpatrick said.
“Gregory has spent his career profiting off lawsuits against Missouri’s small businesses,” Fitzpatrick said. “Lying about your credentials to win public office is straight out of the Biden playbook.”
Gregory’s campaign didn’t immediately respond to Fitzpatrick’s criticisms on Wednesday.
Fitzpatrick, meanwhile, released his first ad last week. In the 30-second spot, the current state treasurer rides around in a motor boat and catches a largemouth bass. He then fries a breaded filet.
“When I find political insiders trying to get fat off of your tax dollars, I won’t just throw ’em back,” he said in the ad.
Fitzpatrick is the CEO of MariCorp US, a marine manufacturing and construction company based in Shell Knob, Missouri. He and his wife, Mallory, have three sons, including a set of twins.
Gregory is listed as founder and partner of The Injury Counsel, a personal injury law firm, on the firm’s website. He lives with his wife, Paige, in St. Louis County.
Former state Rep. Alan Green, D-Florissant, is running for auditor as a Democrat.
Libertarian John A. Hartwig Jr. of St. Louis is also running.