Sunday, February 19, 2006
More Moark company money connected to Nodler
One way political parties get around campaign contribution limits for individual candidates is by funneling money through a number of district committees and political action committees.
In this area, each legislative district has its own Republican committee, as well as the 32nd Senatorial District and, of course, there is always Sen. Gary Nodler's Leadership PAC.
When the Mafia runs its operations this way, it's called money laundering. When it is done by local political committees, it's perfectly legal. Money goes from one committee to another so fast that if you blink you have probably missed tens of thousands of dollars changing hands.
In the most recent disclosure filing with the Missouri Ethics Commission, Jan. 14, the 32nd Senatorial District Committee, which has the same treasurer Tom Flanigan of Carthage, as Nodler's campaign committee, reported receiving $6,050 from the Republican State Committee, $3,000 from the 129th District Legislative Committee, $1,300 from Joplin CPA Nick Myers, who serves as treasurer for the Nodler Leadership PAC and whose wife serves as deputy treasurer for the Senatorial District Committee; and $250 from Newton County Circuit Court Judge Tim Perigo. The $6,050 from the state committee was apparently transferred on to Senator Jack Goodman, R-Mount Vernon's campaign committee, and another $1,600 was contributed to Governor Matt Blunt's re-election campaign.
Missouri Ethics Commission documents filed 30 days after the November 2004 election show a flurry of activity, including a $48,400 contribution from the Missouri Republican Party, $1,610 from Empire District Electric Company, $13,300 from the Nodler Leadership PAC, $1,000 from the Ron Richard Committee, $2,000 from Leggett & Platt, and $500 from the lobbying firm of Penman and Winton.
The money was quickly distributed to Republican senatorial campaigns across the state, with $1,000 to $1,500 going to each one. Lieutenant governor candidate Peter Kinder received $5,000 and gubernatorial candidate Matt Blunt received $7,000.
Hidden in the midst of those late contributions to the senatorial district committee is $1,000 on Oct. 22, 2004, from a company listed as NB Inc., with a Neosho address. The company is better known as NutraBlend, a subsidiary of Land O'Lakes, which maintains its headquarters at the same Neosho location as another Land O'Lakes subsidiary, Moark.
During a July 20, 2005, meeting with opponents of Moark's Neosho expansion, a transcript shows Sen. Nodler saying, "Ethical rules of the state of Missouri prevent me from attempting to influence the DNR (Department of Natural Resources) on regulatory procedures. In fact, it would probably be a violation of federal integrity laws if I interfered with their regulatory process. I wouldn't do that and not only does the law say that, but it would be unethical for me to do that."
Apparently, there are no ethical problems with committees connected to Nodler accepting nearly $4,000 in the past few years from individuals or companies connected with Moark.
As The Turner Report noted last month, only six days before Nodler met with Moark opponents his campaign committee accepted the maximum $600 contribution from N.B. Inc., of Neosho. This was not the first contribution Nodler had received from N. B. Inc. Missouri Ethics Commission records show that on Sept. 10, 2001, N. B., contributed $550, the maximum at that time, to Nodler's 2002 senatorial campaign. During that same election cycle, he received a $500 contribution from the Poultry Federation of Missouri, and $200 from Moark official Hollis Osborne.
One of the early contributors to the Nodler Leadership PAC when it was formed in 2003 was Moark official Jerry Wells, who gave $1,000.