- Associated Press - Monday, January 23, 2017

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri’s new Republican secretary of state is defending his decision to appoint a securities industry insider to head a state watchdog division.

Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft in a Monday statement said new Securities Commissioner David Minnick’s knowledge of the industry will help improve state investigations.

A statement from Ashcroft’s office described criticism of Minnick as partisan.

Some Democrats are calling on Ashcroft to ditch Minnick, who previously worked at St. Louis-based Stifel Financial Corp. The company is under investigation by the division Minnick now heads. It previously agreed to pay millions of dollars to settle with the state after past investigations.

Democratic Rep. Greg Razer of Kansas City on Monday said Minnick’s appointment is an issue of “blatant corruption.”

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