You can't blame the area media for emphasizing the positive when it comes to Governor Matt Blunt's latest appointment to the Missouri State Highway and Transportation Commission.
Yes, the appointment of Rudy Farber, chairman of the board at Community Bank and Trust, marks the first time someone from Newton County has held a position on the board, which determines how highway funds are spent throughout the state.
A Blunt news release also notes this is the first time any of the counties in this far southwestern corner of the state has had representation on this board, which obviously makes decisions that are vital to this area.
However, as is usually the case when Matt Blunt makes a major appointment, it doesn't come down to your typical red Republican or blue Democrat considerations, the color in question is green... and Rudy Farber and his family have supplied Matt Blunt, his father Seventh District Congressman Roy Blunt, and state Republicans with plenty of it.
A cursive glance at Federal Elections Commission and Missouri Ethics Commission documents indicates Farber has contributed well in excess of $150,000 to the Blunts and other GOP interests this decade and is one of a three-man board that controls where the money raised by the Nodler Leadership Fund goes. A partial list of Farber contributions includes the following:
Missouri Ethics Commission documents show Farber donated $1,200 to Matt Blunt on Dec. 2, 2005, $1,200 on Aug. 26, 2004, and $1,175 on March 14, 2003. All of those are the maximum amounts allowable at the time. Dorothy Farber contributed the same amount in 2003 and 2004, the documents show.
Farber also contributed $2,550 to Sandra Thomas' unsuccessful state auditor campaign last year, and he and Mrs. Farber each contributed maximum $600 donations to Nodler in 2005.
Maximum donations were also made to Republican candidates Catherine Hanaway, Chris Byrd, Blaine Luetkemeyer, and Lt. Governor Peter Kinder.
Farber pumped in $7,000 to the 32nd Senatorial District Republican Fund on Oct. 20, 2006, and made two separate $10,000 contributions, the first in 2003, and then again in 2006, to the Nodler Leadership Fund, as well as contributing $20,000 to the Missouri Republican Party in 2006.
Federal Election Commission (FEC) documents show that in the past three years, Farber and his wife have contributed:
-$26,700 to the National Republican Senatorial Committee
-$12,000 to the Seventh District Congressional Republican Committee.
-$10,450 to Jim Talent
-$14,000 to Seventh District Congressman Roy Blunt
-$7,000 to Senator Kit Bond
-$14,100 to the Missouri Republican State Committee
-$3,000 to the Republican National Committee
-$5,000 to the Seventh District Committee
When you add the money Farber and the Nodler Leadership Board controls, you are well past a quarter of a million dollars he has put into Republican coffers since the turn of the century.
Rudy Farber may turn out to be the best Highway Commissioner this state has ever had, but when you consider the track record of Blunt appointments, there seems little doubt that his pathway to power was paved with greenbacks.