The Shearing of the Sheep or Much Needed Missouri Ethical Reform

sheepWhile Missourians ponder the November 8th ballot measure that will limit campaign contributions, but restrict our First Amendment of our U.S. Constitution, making this an unconstitutional resolution; lets discuss the issue of ethics.

Ethics Reform

In researching my republican opponent Rick Francis it lead me to the MO Leadership Committee of Farmington, MO and then, in July of this year, to the MO Majority PAC, listed as only Majority PAC of Perryville, MO, on Mr. Francis July 2016 MEC filing.  As I have learned both PAC’s connect to former House Speaker Steven Tilley.

The below St. Louis Post-Dispatch article by Tony Messenger explains how former House Speaker Steven Tilley has created a web of, campaign contribution, deceit that would make Tony Soprano blush!

Basically the scam is to take in monies, it does not matter from whom and then fund other polticians. Once those polticians are in office, offer them consulting services, most likely telling them how to legislate, from Mr. Tilley’s or his sisters firm, for basically the same amount that their campaign was funded. Thus laundering the donations and getting them off the Missouri Ethics Commission radar.

After Tilley resigned from office he turned around and immediately started his Lobbyist/Consulting firm, so that he might capitalize on his neferious plan.

Messenger: Lawmakers target Tilley as ethics debate is revived in Missouri

” Tilley never really stopped taking gifts, he just made it harder to figure out which lobbyists’ donations were paying for them. And after a serious committee of legislators produced a strong ethics bill, Tilley used his power as floor leader and speaker-in-waiting to gut it. Eventually, he resigned his seat, became a lobbyist, and put into practice every bit of undue influence a strong ethics bill would have sought to outlaw.” …

“In March 2014, Steve Tilley’s committee, Friends of Tilley, gave $5,000 to Missouri Growth. A month later, Noranda Aluminum, the smelter in southeastern Missouri, gave $5,000 to the committee. Tilley is a lobbyist for the Fair Energy Action Rate Fund, which is an ally of Noranda (and funded by Noranda and others), in the battle against Ameren Missouri electric rate increases.

Missouri Growth’s first actual donation to a state representative came in September 2014. It gave $750 to Rep. Jeremy Lafaver, D-Kansas City. In October, the committee received $1,000 from another committee Tilley used to control as speaker, MO Leadership Committee, and $7,500 from a 501-c-4 nonprofit called Missourians for Low Energy Costs. That committee was the subject of previous Missouri Ethics Commission complaints accusing it of being a shill for Noranda.”

MO Leadership Committee, for this year appears to be, predominately funded by Senator Gary Romine and Representative Kevin Engler; more on them later.

When he resigned, the former speaker had a nearly $1 million campaign account, earning interest from an investment in bank shares. Almost immediately, he began using it to give him an advantage other lobbyists didn’t have, donating five-figure checks to lawmakers who would then turn around and hire him as a consultant, often for similar amounts of money. “

Four years later, an ex-politician is still benefiting from his campaign fund

“Raising campaign funds is for the purpose of running one’s own campaign, and not using it as a hedge fund,” said the law’s sponsor, state Rep. Jay Barnes, R-Jefferson City, who stressed that he was speaking in general terms and not about Tilley specifically. “It’s not for … turning around and using it later to run a business.” …

“Tilley has long invested a large portion of the campaign funds he continues to control, growing tens of thousands of dollars in interest on those funds, from bank stock through a privately held holding company in his hometown of Perryville, Mo. That income, too, is restricted to political use only but can still be donated to the politicians who are being lobbied by Tilley and/or are paying consulting fees to his family.”

And the unethical behavior is a bi-partisan issue!  One can donate to a fund that is to put a democrat in office and later the successful politician can later switch parties and keep their same campaign fund! How is that ethical, it is not!

While Missouri Senator Onder tried to repair the issue of elected politicians immediately turning around and becoming lobbyists, with SB 643, the campaign finance issue still plagues Missourians, so it is up to us to fix it.  By not voting in the unethical that take these monies or voting out the incumbents that do!

If elected I pledge to sign the Missouri Lobbyist Gift-Ban Pledge!

This corruption has to stop in our Missouri politics! 

Isn’t it time to get rid of lawmakers that are lawless?