If Democrats plan to attack Seventh District Congressman Roy Blunt this year on his connections to lobbyists (including his wife, son and daughter), they had better be prepared for the same charges to be leveled at their knight in shining armor.
The Draft Kreider for Congress crew has been trying to get former House Speaker Jim Kreider, 50, D-Nixa, to challenge Blunt. And even though no one has ever accused Kreider of any ethical improprieties, he accepted more gifts from lobbyists in 2001, $5,327.36, than any Missouri representative accepted last year, topping the $3,529.62 total of Mike Sutherland, R-Warrenton, by nearly $1,800.
Combining that with the $3,092.87 in gifts Kreider accepted during his final year, 2001, he received $8,420.23 during his final two-year term.
An examination of 2002 reports filed with the Missouri Ethics Commission shows he received:
-Twenty-two meals from William Gamble, whose client list includes Ameren, Ameristar Casinos, Missouri Railroad Association,and Missouri Pharmacy Association.
-$143.70 on Jan. 1 for entertainment by Terry Schlemeier, a lobbyist in Gamble's firm, representing the Four Seasons Resort.
-$205.88 for meals, food and beverage from Samuel Licklider, Missouri Association of Realtors, on May 6.
-$287.48 for meals, food and beverage on March 6 from J. Scott Marrs, Missouri Hospital Association.
-$407.91 for meals, food and beverage from Sam Barbee, Missouri Automobile Dealers Association on April 5.
During the 75 days the legislature was in session, Kreider had his meals paid for 60 times, according to Ethics Commission documents.
The standout day was Jan. 22, 2002, when four lobbyists, Gamble, Norbert Plassmeyer, Associated Industries of Missouri, David Winton, BJC Health Care Systems, St. Louis; and Steven Carroll, St. Louis schools, Home Builders Association of Missouri; paid for meals, food and beverage, according to the documents, with Gamble recording two separate meals. The total for that day was $179.12.
Ethics Commission documents for 2001 show Kreider opening the new year with a bang, celebrating New Year's at the Lodge, courtesy of Lodge of the Four Seasons lobbyist Ms. Schlemeier. The cost was $184.
He also received:
-A $97.73 flower arrangement from Bob Jackson, City Utilities of Springfield on Jan. 4.
-$123 for meals, food and beverage from Jorgen Schlemeier, another of William Gamble's partners. The cost was divided among Schelemeier's various clients.
-Forty-one meals from Gamble, including 11 on Jan. 31 (and no, I am sure Kreider did not eat all 11 meals). One of those meals, on April 5, cost $212.45.
-A $37.76 holiday gift box from Harry Gallagher
-$72.14 for travel and $43.95 for meals, food and beverage from Barbee on March 1.
-$146 for entertainment from Paul Kincaid, Southwest Missouri State University, on March 22
-A $107.99 meal from Licklider on April 25
-$99 for lodging from John Bryan, Poultry Federation, on July 5
-$252.68 in "other" from Jerry Burch, Branson/Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce, on July 18
-$152 from John Bardgett Jr., Bardgett and Associates, on Aug. 15, followed by another $152 for the same purpose on the following day.
-$172.76 from Charles Bryan Cox, American Council of Life Insurers, for meals, food and beverage on Nov. 19.