In the June 6 Turner Report, I described the victory lap that Rep. Steve Hunter, R-Joplin, took for the workmen's compensation bill he and his fellow business-oriented Republicans railroaded through the General Assembly during the 2005 session.
Hunter spoke at eight Associated Industries of Missouri sessions, explaining what his legislation will mean to Missouri businesses. The workmen's compensation legislation, along with tort reform legislation, were key goals for Associated Industries, one of the top lobbying organizations for state businesses.
And as I pointed out, Hunter's biography on the Missouri House of Representatives website clearly states that he is a membership recruiter for Associated Industries of Missouri.
He is also the chairman of the House Workforce Development and Workplace Safety Committee and a member of the powerful Ways and Means Committee. Having a man like Hunter on the payroll has to be a coup for Associated Industries.
The lobbying group did not let its agenda rest on Hunter, however. Documents filed with the Missouri Ethics Commission indicate that lobbyists James Kistler and Gary Marble, the former Republican state representative from Neosho, who is now president of Associated Industries, spent $4,520.40 to wine and dine legislators from January through April of 2005. May figures are not yet available. They will not be released until legislators have had a chance to look at them and make sure they are accurate.
Marble spent nothing on the legislature in January, but quickly made up for that the next month, spending $1,552.48 for meals, food and beverage for the House Republican Caucus. In March, he paid $200 for meals for the House Tourism Committee, while in April, he dished out $48.75 apiece for senators Chuck Purgason, R-Caulfield, and Delbert Scott, R-Lowry City, and $92.50 for Rep. Walt Bivens, R-St. Louis.
Kistler was the big spender for Associated Industries, according to documents filed with the Ethics Commission.. In January, Kistler fed the House Small Business Committee for $257.71, Rep. Tim Flook, R-Liberty, for $54 and Sen. John Griesheimer, R-Washington, for $8.49.
Kistler's February filing shows expenditures of $500 for the Republican Leadership Committee and $154.44 for the entire Senate.
In March, Kistler only spent $50 to feed Rep. Peter Myers, R-Sikeston.
The big money was doled out in April, when Kistler spent $1,953.70 for meals, food and beverage for the House Republican Caucus, $100 for the entire Senate,$345.23 for the Ways and Means Committee, including Hunter, $112.61 for the House Republican Caucus, and $5.66 for Sen. Griesheimer.
It should be noted that individual representatives and senators do not have to list receiving these gifts when they file their reports with the Ethics Commission.