Many lawmakers in Jefferson City ran on a platform of cleaning up government. But taking a look at the events of last week, it couldn’t be clearer that ethics and conflicts of interest continue to be an afterthought (at best) for Jefferson City politicians.
These ethical lapses would be pretty egregious for any given week, but only in Jefferson City could these headlines appear within seven days(!!) of each other.
- Missouri House lawyer warns of bribery after donation email - An email circulated asking which legislators supported a bill so that a list for donations could be made… one legislator even responded to the request by asking for a job. House counsel David Welch reminded everyone "an offer of a benefit to a public servant in return for their vote on specific legislation and is a violation" of state bribery laws.
- FBI investigating Missouri legislative dispute involving truckers - It took a call from the FBI to get House Speaker Todd Richardson to move on a bill that prohibits state regulators from sitting on the board of the companies they are regulating, because that’s a thing that’s currently happening.
- Greitens takes dead aim at Capitol corruption, shoots blanks - In his brief tenure as governor thus far, Eric Greitens has made many ethically questionable decisions that fly in the face of his promise to clean up Jefferson City (refusing to disclose inaugural donors, setting up a dark money 501(c)4, refusing to disclose who funds his private jet flights around the country to name a few), but this particular case study demonstrates how he can take no gifts, but still manage to hide the true funder for $1,276 in expenses at Cardinals Opening Day.
Bribery, an FBI investigation, and campaign slush funding — just another week in Jefferson City
Here's one bright spot though: State Auditor Nicole Galloway has launched an investigation into conflicts of interest related to state officials’ placement on company boards they are charged with overseeing.