Missouri Sen.-elect Josh Hawley probed after complaint from liberal group

Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley, who defeated incumbent Claire McCaskill for Senate earlier this year, is under investigation after a liberal group accused him of misusing taxpayer-funded resources. The office of Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft confirmed the investigation to the American Democracy Legal Fund (ADLF), the group that filed the complaint, in a … Continue reading “Missouri Sen.-elect Josh Hawley probed after complaint from liberal group”

Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley, who defeated incumbent Claire McCaskill for Senate earlier this year, is under investigation after a liberal group accused him of misusing taxpayer-funded resources.

The office of Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft confirmed the investigation to the American Democracy Legal Fund (ADLF), the group that filed the complaint, in a letter provided to Fox News.

Both Hawley and Ashcroft are Republicans.

In its complaint, the ADLF alleged Hawley had political consultants “direct state, taxpayer-paid staff to undertake tasks that would raise Hawley’s profile” in his quest for the Senate seat.

The complaint came after an October report in The Kansas City Star newspaper which said out-of-state consultants gave Hawley’s attorney general staff members – through email, text messages and in person – tasks to shape his agenda in his office.

Khristine A. Heisinger, deputy general counsel for the secretary of state, confirmed in a letter to ADLF President Brad Woodhouse that “this office will commence an investigation into the alleged offense.” She asked the ADLF to turn over any evidence about the alleged offense.

LTR to Woodhouse.12.6.18 by Kaitlyn on Scribd

“Josh Hawley’s flagrant abuse of his taxpayer-funded office for his own political gain deserves immediate investigation,” Woodhouse said in a statement to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “We’re heartened to see Secretary of State Ashcroft give this racket further scrutiny.”

HAWLEY DEFEATS MCCASKILL IN HARD-FOUGHT MISSOURI SENATE RACE

Mary Compton, a spokeswoman for the attorney general’s office, told Fox News the office is “delighted to cooperate” in the investigation to “put these ridiculous allegations to bed once and for all.”

“These allegations are totally meritless and nothing more than a partisan attempt to slander the work of the Attorney General’s Office,” she said. “As we have said before, no taxpayer resources were ever expended for campaign purposes. And no government employees ever participated in the campaign or political activities.”

Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft’s office has opened an investigation into fellow Republican Josh Hawley after he was accused of misusing public resources for his successful bid for Senate.  (Official photo)

Missouri law states: “No contribution or expenditure of public funds shall be made directly by any officer, employee or agent of any political subdivision to advocate, support or oppose any ballot measure or candidate for public office.”

REPUBLICAN SENATOR ASKS MCCASKILL CAMPAIGN TO REMOVE HIM FROM AD

After the accusations first surfaced, McCaskill – a former prosecutor who has held her Senate seat since 2007 – compared Hawley’s alleged actions to that of a previous Missouri attorney general who went to prison in 1993 after he used state resources for political reasons, according to the Post-Dispatch.

“It is against the law to use state resources for political gain,” McCaskill said. “You cannot use taxpayer-paid staff to assist in any political purpose. The last attorney general went to prison for utilizing his office and his state staff to promote him politically. Those are the facts.”

Kaitlyn Schallhorn is a Reporter for Fox News. Follow her on Twitter: @K_Schallhorn.

Missouri mom working extra shifts to buy Christmas presents for kids killed in car accident

Ahead of Christmas, Sara Shepard, a nurse and mother of two, picked up extra shifts at the St. Louis University Hospital in Missouri in the hopes her hard work would result in a present-filled holiday season for her kids. But on her way to work Saturday, the 31-year-old was tragically killed in a car accident.

MISSOURI NURSE FIRED FOR REFUSING FLU SHOT OVER RELIGIOUS BELIEFS, PROTESTERS CLAIM

“Sara had already picked out a Christmas list for the children," Becca Hill, Sara’s sister-in-law, told Fox 2. “Her whole life was her kids, everything she did was for her kids.”

Shepard was killed Saturday around 6:30 p.m when a pickup truck collided into her vehicle, causing Shepard to drive off the road and strike a nearby guardrail.

It is not clear what caused the driver of the pickup to crash into Shepard. The truck driver and his passenger were transported to a local hospital with “moderate injuries." Authorities are still investigating the accident, according to the news station.

The loss has been difficult for the family, Shepard’s brother, Dave Hill, told Fox 2. Their brother, James, reportedly died just seven months prior to Shepard’s accident.

“Her whole life was her kids, everything she did was for her kids.”

— Becca Hill

“We’ve learned a lot about grief through this whole process," Becca said, adding Shepard’s son and daughter, who the news station did not identify, “are suffering the most of out all of this.”

"Our hearts are broken to hear of the sudden passing of Sara Shepard. Sara was the epitome of a nurse, talented, knowledgeable, compassionate and dedicated.  She was kind-hearted and an advocate for her patients. Sara will be dearly missed by all who knew her. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family at this time,” the St. Louis Hospital said in a statement to Fox 2.

A GoFundMe page for Shepard was created by her cousin, Angie McBride.

NICU NURSES DONATE MEGA MILLIONS WINNINGS TO COLLEAGUES IN NEED

“Your contribution to this fund will help with putting Sara's affairs in order, final arrangements, Christmas and future needs for her young children,” McBride wrote on the crowdfunding site.

Madeline Farber is a Reporter for Fox News. You can follow her on Twitter @MaddieFarberUDK.

St. Louis officers accused of beating undercover colleague during protest

ST. LOUIS – Three St. Louis police officers were indicted Thursday for allegedly beating an undercover colleague during a 2017 protest and, along with a fourth officer, conspiring to cover up the crime.

The U.S. Department of Justice announced the indictments of Officers Dustin Boone, Randy Hays, Christopher Myers and Bailey Colletta. All four are suspended without pay, the city said. The indictment follows an FBI investigation requested last year by St. Louis police.

The September 2017 acquittal of former police officer Jason Stockley set off weeks of protests. Stockley, who is white, was found not guilty in the 2011 death of a black suspect, Anthony Lamar Smith.

The indictment alleges that Boone, Hays and Myers beat the undercover agent during a protest on Sept. 17, 2017, and that the three along with Colletta covered it up.

"These are serious charges and the vigorous enforcement of civil rights is essential to maintaining public trust in law enforcement," U.S. Attorney Jeff Jensen said in a statement, adding that the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department "recognized the importance of this investigation and its leadership has cooperated at every turn."

BORDER AGENTS SEIZE OVER $2.7M IN NARCOTICS AT CALIFORNIA-MEXICO BORDER

St. Louis Police Officers Association business manager Jeff Roorda said all four officers are members of the association, but he declined further comment.

St. Louis Public Safety Director Jimmie Edwards said the police department is filled with officers who do "exceptional work," but those who violate the law must be held accountable.

MOM WORKING EXTRA SHIFTS TO BUY CHRISTMAS PRESENTS FOR KIDS IS KILLED IN CAR CRASH

"In a few instances, some officers have fallen short of the professionalism required to work in our Police Department," Edwards said in a statement.

Southwest Airlines jet lands with cracked cockpit windshield: report

A Southwest Airlines jet landed safely in Kansas City on Wednesday night with a cracked cockpit windshield.

The outer pane of Southwest Flight 718's left side cockpit cracked upon descent into Kansas City International Airport, the airline said in a statement. No emergency was declared.

The aircraft was taken out of service for a routine window repair, the company said.

The Kansas City Aviation Department said the flight landed just after 6:30 p.m. with 117 people on board, Fox 4 Kansas City reported. The flight originated from Reagan International Airport in Washington D.C., the report said.

Kansas City airport officials told Fox 4 that it was unclear why the glass broke, but there are several layers.

Amy Lieu is a news editor and reporter for Fox News.

Missouri nurse fired for refusing flu shot over religious beliefs, protesters claim

A group of protesters gathered outside of Mercy Hospital South in St. Louis Monday to protest the hospital’s policy that requires employees to receive a flu shot, claiming at least one nurse at the facility was fired after she refused to be vaccinated, citing religious reasons.

Nelia Aubuchon, who organized the protest, told Fox 2 a nurse at Mercy Hospital South was terminated after she requested an exemption from the policy on religious grounds. The hospital allegedly refused to grant the nurse’s request and terminated her shortly after, Aubuchon told the news station.

SHOULD YOU GET THE FLU SHOT? WHAT TO KNOW ABOUT THE 2018-19 FLU SEASON

"Mercy has a policy that says that they accept religious and medical exemptions and yet, in practice, it appears that they are not accepting them; they're denying them,” Aubuchon told the news station, though she wouldn't identify the nurse who was allegedly fired.

"Here at Mercy South, this nurse knows of no other doctor or nurse who actually was granted their religious or medical exemption and, frankly, here we're focused on the religious exemption because this nurse chose rather than being coerced in receiving the shot,” she added.

Aubuchon wrote on Facebook the protest was not about the “efficacy of flu shots [or] mists or a pro or anti-vaccines conversation.” Rather, she explained, “It's about Mercy's denial of ALL religious and medical exemptions for their employees and their draconian measure of terminating those who will not give in to their policy. Mercy Hospital denied ALL doctor and religious leader signed exemption paperwork.”

She also argued the policy constitutes as religious discrimination and violates employees' personal rights.

But Bethany Pope, a spokesperson for Mercy Hospital South, told Fox News the hospital approved “the majority” of the 170 exemption requests it received this year — many of which were “accepted for meeting valid medical or religious exemption criteria.”

In total, the Mercy Health System employs more than 44,000 people, according to Pope.

SOUTH DAKOTA REPORTS FIRST FLU DEATH OF THE SEASON

“The point of our flu vaccination policy is simple: protection against the flu virus saves lives, especially those of our most vulnerable patients. Requiring health care co-workers to be vaccinated for the flu is a best practice across the U.S. to ensure the safety of patients, co-workers and community members. Mercy revised our flu vaccination policy several years ago and requires compliance with the policy by all Mercy co-workers as a condition of employment,” Pope said.

“Those co-workers whose exemption requests were not accepted will be notified this week and, in accordance with our policy, will not be permitted to remain employed without receiving a vaccination. This is an important step in protecting our patients, visitors and co-workers,” she added, noting the hospital's policy regarding a mandatory flu shot is the same “as most hospitals across the country.”

Madeline Farber is a Reporter for Fox News. You can follow her on Twitter @MaddieFarberUDK.

Man’s split-second decision leads to life-saving kidney transplant: ‘All this is was God’

A split-second decision during the Thanksgiving holiday saved one man’s life.

Bill Casselman, 58, of Kansas City, Mo., has been waiting for a donor kidney to arrive for nearly four years, and after receiving dialysis for eight hours every day, the news came as a bit of a shock.

"All this is was God. One hundred percent," Casselman told Fox 4. "Too many things fell into place all at once for this to be anything other than a miracle."

MOM DONATES LIFESAVING KIDNEY TO SON AFTER SNOWBOARDING FALL LEADS TO SHOCK DIAGNOSIS

Bill and his wife Angela were visiting family in Wichita for Thanksgiving, but the news of an oncoming blizzard forced them to make a decision: stick it out in Wichita or go home early.

But when they arrived home in Northland and received that long-awaited phone call, it seemed too good to be true: a donor kidney had arrived and was ready to go.

“I can’t believe this is happening,” Bill told his wife as they prepared to leave. "You're on the list finally, and then, two years into that, you're like, 'I'm never going to get a call.' After three years, I was sure I was never going to get a call.”

MOM DONATES LIFE-SAVING KIDNEY TO TODDLER SON

The couple had seen many false hopes arise over the past four years, so the transplant didn’t seem meant to be until the surgeons went to work on Sunday morning at St. Luke’s Hospital.

"You talk about Thanksgiving? This is Thanksgiving, and plenty to give thanks for," Casselman added.

Caleb Parke is an associate editor for FoxNews.com. You can follow him on Twitter @calebparke

Southwest Airlines jet lands with cracked cockpit windshield: report

A Southwest Airlines jet landed safely in Kansas City on Wednesday night with a cracked cockpit windshield.

The outer pane of Southwest Flight 718's left side cockpit cracked upon descent into Kansas City International Airport, the airline said in a statement. No emergency was declared.

The aircraft was taken out of service for a routine window repair, the company said.

The Kansas City Aviation Department said the flight landed just after 6:30 p.m. with 117 people on board, Fox 4 Kansas City reported. The flight originated from Reagan International Airport in Washington D.C., the report said.

Kansas City airport officials told Fox 4 that it was unclear why the glass broke, but there are several layers.

Amy Lieu is a news editor and reporter for Fox News.

Midwest snowstorm cancels hundreds of flights as holiday weekend winds down

A massive storm blanketed much of the central Midwest with snow Sunday, canceling hundreds of flights at airports in Chicago and Kansas City and forcing parts of some major highways to shut down as the Thanksgiving holiday weekend drew to a close.

The National Weather Service on Sunday issued blizzard and winter storm warnings for much of the central Plains and Great Lakes region. According to flight-tracking website FlightAware, 1,200 flights headed to or from the U.S. were canceled.

A fast-moving winter storm is expected to blanket much of the central Midwest with snow. (AP)

FlightAware reported that 792 flights into or out of Chicago's O'Hare International Airport had been canceled as of 9 p.m. local time, with another 426 flights experiencing delays. Another 124 flights into or out of Chicago Midway International Airport were canceled, with 83 other flights experiencing delays.

Kansas City International Airport closed to arriving flights at approximately 2:30 p.m. local time due to visibility that was reduced to less than a quarter-mile. The airport re-opened to arrivals approximately four hours later.

A total of 188 flights into and out of Kansas City were canceled as of 9 p.m. local time, with another 35 flights experiencing delays.

In St. Louis, a tornado warning was issued for an area including Lambert International Airport shortly before 5 p.m. local time. It was not immediately clear how many flights were affected. The warning expired approximately 15 minutes later.

Strong winds and snow created blizzard-like conditions across much of Nebraska and parts of Kansas, Iowa, and Missouri. The National Weather Service was warning those conditions would make travel difficult in places.

By midday, the blizzard warning had extended to parts of eastern Illinois near Chicago, where snow is forecast to fall at a rate of about 2 inches per hour. On Sunday evening, the warning was extended to Chicago and surrounding counties. It was set to expire at 9 a.m. Monday.

Other parts of the Central Plains and Great Lakes region were under a winter storm warning, that could see a foot or more of snow dumped in some places by the end of the day.

DEADLY WILDFIRE '100 PERCENT CONTAINED' AS GRIM SEARCH CONTINUES

In eastern Nebraska, part of Interstate 80 between Lincoln and Omaha was closed Sunday morning because of multiple accidents after snow blanketed that area. That included semitrailer trucks jackknifed across the highway. It was re-opened by Sunday afternoon.

Traffic moves west along I-70 near Lawrence, Kan., Sunday. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)

In Kansas, Gov. Jeff Colyer issued a state of emergency declaration. The action came as a large stretch of Interstate 70, spanning much of the state, was closed between Junction City and WaKeeney.

Kearney resident Amy Scott told the Kansas City Star her brother-in-law, his wife and their son were hoping to make it as far as Salina, Kan., on Sunday evening. They reported seeing numerous crashes on Interstate 70, including an ambulance that was tipped over on its side. Scott added that the group was stuck on the highway for approximately an hour and hoped not to run out of gas.

AIR FORCE FAMILY FOUND DEAD IN THANKSGIVING SUV CRASH

"They wanted to get as far as they could because they were supposed to be back to work tomorrow [Monday],” Scott told the paper. “I’m just saying prayers for them and others who have to be out on the roads. I wish they didn’t have to, but I understood why they did have to.”

Separately, a portion of Interstate 29 was shut down in Missouri, near the Iowa border. As much as a foot was expected in Chicago. The weather service said on Twitter Sunday night that Kansas City International Airport got 5.3 inches of snow, and at least 7 inches fell in Rockford, Illinois.

Forecasters predict more than a foot of snow is likely in southeast Nebraska, northeast Kansas, northwest Missouri, and southwest Iowa. By Monday morning, the storm was expected to hit parts of northern Indiana and southern Michigan.

Schools in parts of Kansas, Missouri, Iowa, and Illinois called off Monday classes.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

NICU nurses donate Mega Millions winnings to colleagues in need

A selfless group of NICU nurses in Missouri whose office pool struck it lucky in the Mega Millions decided to club their winnings together and use it for the greater good.

Although the big winner was in South Carolina, the Show-Me State had five $10,000 winning tickets, one of them purchased by the group of 126 nurses at Mercy Children’s Hospital St. Louis.

“We never thought in a million years we would win anything at all and then we came one number away from winning $1.6 billion,” NICU nurse Stephanie Brinkman told KMOV4. “The majority said, 'let's give it to our co-workers, our family, the ones that are in biggest need' so that's what we decided to do.”

CHURCH HANDS OUT ENVELOPES OF $100 TO $1,000 TO GIVE BACK TO COMMUNITY

The alternative would’ve been splitting up $7,200, the amount after taxes, among 126 nurses, but instead of each getting $56 they decided to join together to make a bigger impact.

“When it comes to incredible nurses, we hit the jackpot!” Mercy tweeted out announcing the decision to gift the winnings to two recipients dealing with heartbreaking situations: Nurse Gretchen Post and neonatologist Casey Orellana.

On the night the Mega Millions winner was announced, Post’s 17-year-old son Jack tragically committed suicide.

“It's actually going to pay for Jack's funeral which I'm very grateful for,” Post said.

HEARTWARMING MOMENT MAN HOLDS SLEEPING BABY SO MOM CAN FILL OUT PAPERWORK GOES VIRAL

And for their other colleague, Orellana’s husband Phil was recently diagnosed with sarcoma cancer, forcing Casey to cut her hours in half at Mercy to help care for him and their two kids.

“When I got that phone call [about the lottery winnings], it was a day I was wondering how we were going to pay for certain medications and it just touches your heart,” she said.

Caleb Parke is an associate editor for FoxNews.com. You can follow him on Twitter @calebparke

Midwest snowstorm cancels hundreds of flights as holiday weekend winds down

A massive storm blanketed much of the central Midwest with snow Sunday, canceling hundreds of flights at airports in Chicago and Kansas City and forcing parts of some major highways to shut down as the Thanksgiving holiday weekend drew to a close.

The National Weather Service on Sunday issued blizzard and winter storm warnings for much of the central Plains and Great Lakes region. According to flight-tracking website FlightAware, 1,200 flights headed to or from the U.S. were canceled.

A fast-moving winter storm is expected to blanket much of the central Midwest with snow. (AP)

FlightAware reported that 792 flights into or out of Chicago's O'Hare International Airport had been canceled as of 9 p.m. local time, with another 426 flights experiencing delays. Another 124 flights into or out of Chicago Midway International Airport were canceled, with 83 other flights experiencing delays.

Kansas City International Airport closed to arriving flights at approximately 2:30 p.m. local time due to visibility that was reduced to less than a quarter-mile. The airport re-opened to arrivals approximately four hours later.

A total of 188 flights into and out of Kansas City were canceled as of 9 p.m. local time, with another 35 flights experiencing delays.

In St. Louis, a tornado warning was issued for an area including Lambert International Airport shortly before 5 p.m. local time. It was not immediately clear how many flights were affected. The warning expired approximately 15 minutes later.

Strong winds and snow created blizzard-like conditions across much of Nebraska and parts of Kansas, Iowa, and Missouri. The National Weather Service was warning those conditions would make travel difficult in places.

By midday, the blizzard warning had extended to parts of eastern Illinois near Chicago, where snow is forecast to fall at a rate of about 2 inches per hour. On Sunday evening, the warning was extended to Chicago and surrounding counties. It was set to expire at 9 a.m. Monday.

Other parts of the Central Plains and Great Lakes region were under a winter storm warning, that could see a foot or more of snow dumped in some places by the end of the day.

DEADLY WILDFIRE '100 PERCENT CONTAINED' AS GRIM SEARCH CONTINUES

In eastern Nebraska, part of Interstate 80 between Lincoln and Omaha was closed Sunday morning because of multiple accidents after snow blanketed that area. That included semitrailer trucks jackknifed across the highway. It was re-opened by Sunday afternoon.

Traffic moves west along I-70 near Lawrence, Kan., Sunday. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)

In Kansas, Gov. Jeff Colyer issued a state of emergency declaration. The action came as a large stretch of Interstate 70, spanning much of the state, was closed between Junction City and WaKeeney.

Kearney resident Amy Scott told the Kansas City Star her brother-in-law, his wife and their son were hoping to make it as far as Salina, Kan., on Sunday evening. They reported seeing numerous crashes on Interstate 70, including an ambulance that was tipped over on its side. Scott added that the group was stuck on the highway for approximately an hour and hoped not to run out of gas.

AIR FORCE FAMILY FOUND DEAD IN THANKSGIVING SUV CRASH

"They wanted to get as far as they could because they were supposed to be back to work tomorrow [Monday],” Scott told the paper. “I’m just saying prayers for them and others who have to be out on the roads. I wish they didn’t have to, but I understood why they did have to.”

Separately, a portion of Interstate 29 was shut down in Missouri, near the Iowa border. As much as a foot was expected in Chicago. The weather service said on Twitter Sunday night that Kansas City International Airport got 5.3 inches of snow, and at least 7 inches fell in Rockford, Illinois.

Forecasters predict more than a foot of snow is likely in southeast Nebraska, northeast Kansas, northwest Missouri, and southwest Iowa. By Monday morning, the storm was expected to hit parts of northern Indiana and southern Michigan.

Schools in parts of Kansas, Missouri, Iowa, and Illinois called off Monday classes.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.