Thursday, May 16, 2013

Wright Jones Hammered by MEC

The Missouri Ethics Commission fined former state senator Robin Wright Jones a whopping $257,166.  See the order here.

MEC found that Wright Jones was guilty of several of the usual violations – late reports, inaccurate reports, no addresses etc – just on a massive scope.  In other words, there was no attention to record keeping.  Those portions of the 64-page report make Wright Jones and her campaign look sloppy. 

But then there was something else.  Much worse.  The MEC found that she converted some campaign funds to personal use.  That’s less book-keeping incompetence and more like corruption.  That’s the part which would seem to expose Wright Jones to some criminal charges.  According to the report, Wright Jones invoked the Fifth Amendment with regard to those allegations.

The report says that Wright Jones took out over $14,000 in cash withdraws in increments over the allowed $50 limit.  Additionally, it says that she took over $3,000 worth of reimbursements in expenses for which she’d already been reimbursed.  Finally it says that she spent an additional $14,000 of campaign funds on personal items like clothing and grocery store runs and shopping (the store Game Stop, for example, shows up on her campaign reports).

Also Jeff Co Tea Party Dinged

The MEC also fined ($3,700) the Jefferson County Tea Party for failing to put appropriate disclosures on their material.   See it here.

Clock

When the House and Senate convene today at 10AM there will be 32 hours remaining in this legislative session.

Murder By Numbers

Here’s where some of the higher profile items appear to lie…

Medicaid Expansion – Death by stoning.

Bond Issuance for Education – In the freezer in the basement with a Post-It note on the door: “Do Not Open until 2014.”

ISRS – Electrocuted in the bathtub.

Sales Tax for Transportation – Five bullets in it, but not dead yet.

Global Tax Credit Deal – Locked in car trunk somewhere, by the time we open the hatch, death by suffocation.   

Still Alive, Being Hunted

Workers Comp / Second Injury Fund – a rumor yesterday was that a couple major companies were now having legislative remorse and trying to scuttle the bill in the House.  But I remain an optimist.  It should pass…

Liquor Franchise Definition – Yesterday Sen. Eric Schmitt offered to take this to conference with the intentions of seeking the compromise that Sen. Kurt Schaefer mentioned during his filibuster, dropping the “retroactivity” provision.  

Lamping In the Spotlight

The mighty Jason Rosenbaum has an article (thanks to John Combest) about Sen. John Lamping’s filibuster on Tuesday night of the transportation tax.  Read it here.

But the biggest outcry I heard was when the Senate went to Lamping’s service dog bill Wednesday morning.  From the gallery to the halls to the bars the outrage was the same: “you don’t reward the dude who’s filibustering a priority bill, by going to his bill the next morning!”

Quote of the Day

Describing Sen. John Lamping’s political evolution… “ran like a Danforth, legislating like an Akin.”

Holsy Hates on June Primaries

Sen. Jason Holsman’s threat to kill HB 199 is apparently credible enough that it’s said that it won’t be coming back to the Senate.  Rather than conference, it sounds now like the House may just pick up and pass it. 

Holsman was opposed to the provision which would have moved the primary date to June.  He thought it would infect too much politics into the legislative session as you’d have legislators in the heat of a primary campaign in April and March. 

Republicans liked the idea because it would have given their candidates more time to “reload” (raise money) after their contentious primaries.  File under: “politics by rearview mirror.”

Governor Jay Nixon is expected to veto it.

The Great Gatschy

A Republican operative called to remind me that despite all the hoopla over Bob Onder’s entry into the Senate 2 race, it’s Rep. Chuck Gatschenberger who should be considered the front-runner.  The thinking here is that Gastchenberger has a significant advantage in that his current House district is 76% within the Senate 2 district.  Meanwhile Onder has been out of the game for a few cycles and will have to expend resources re-establishing his name ID.

eMailbag: McCaslin Fan Letter

“I didn’t think Ian McKaslin resigned. He was fired. Over the phone. They threw him under the bus…  It is a tremendous loss for the state, but I imagine he will be fielding phone calls with job offers that will easily surpass his old position. He’s just too good to go away.

“And I’ve heard that the administration is trying to pin Medicaid expansion failure on him. What a crock. He was muzzled by the administration.  Medicaid expansion failure lies with Jay Nixon. Not the guy he wouldn’t let work on it.”

Lobbyist Registrations

From the Pelopidas website:

Andrew B Blunt and Jay Reichard added Medsolutions. 

Gary L. Burton, Jim Foley and Chris Liese added Hawkeye Land Company.

James Harris added High Ridge Services LLC.

Jim Lembke added Jim Lembke.

 

Birthdays

Happy birthday to Deanna Hemphill (41).