Anyone who claims that Rep. Ron Richard, R-Joplin, is just a yes-man for Governor Matt Blunt, is going to have to go through me.
Ron Richard doesn't bow to the will of any man.
When the governor (with $2 million in his own campaign coffers) asked Missouri Republicans to forgo a loophole in the new campaign finance law that would allow unlimited fund raising to take place Jan. 1 and 2 before the legislative session began, Richard disregarded the suggestion and carved out a new direction for himself. (Of course, the part of the law that forbids fund raising during the legislative session has since been found unconstitutional.)
On the night of Jan. 2, while others were minding their governor and keeping their hands (and handouts) to themselves, Richard was meeting the elite at the Gallery, 102 E. High, Jefferson City (smack dab in the middle of the city's lobbying district). On its website, this description is offered for The Gallery:
Not only is the Gallery enchanting, but it's classic, historic, and chic. Imagine your guests seated in a renovated historic building, dining on a savory selection from our menu, while perusing original artworks from local artists. Nowhere else in Mid-Missouri will you find the same quality of food, art, and ambiance.
Apparently, the ambiance worked for Richard, as he raked in more than $45,000 during that fundraising evening, according to his quarterly disclosure report filed today with the Missouri Ethics Commission.
That amount included more than $11,000 from lobbyists, bundled with money from their clients, $7,500 from seven Missouri Bankers Association regional political action committees, $2,550 from casino interests, and more than $5,300 from out-of-state interests.
Among the lobbyists dropping big bucks in Richard's collection plate were:
Election Day Enterprises- Election Days Enterprises is the political consulting firm owned by lobbyist and former State Representative Jewell Patek, $1,275
Mark Rhoads- Rhoads is the lobbyist for Harrah's Entertainment and Blue Cross Blue Shield, $1,000 from Rhoads, $325 from Blue Cross Blue Shield, $1,275 from Harrah's
Penman & Winton Consulting Group, Inc.- The lobbying firm, which represents AT*t, chipped in with $500
John Bardgett- The man considered by some to be Missouri's most powerful lobbyist kicked in with $1,275, while his client Missouri Cable PAC donated $2,000. The lobbying firm of Bardgett & Associates also contributed $1,275.
Roy Cagle- The lobbyist and former state representative from Joplin, who represents the Missouri Finance Institute, contributed $500.
Harness and Associates- Lobbyist Kathryn Harness' firm, which represents Northport Health Services and the Missouri Beer Wholesalers, among other clients, donated $200
The Giddens and Russell Group- The lobbying firm, which represents Altria. gave $1,000, with Altria adding
Michael Reid- Reid, who represents the Missouri School Boards Association, contributed $500.
Harry Gallagher- Though Gallagher's name was nowhere to be seen on the campaign disclosure form, the lobbying powerhouse delivered three of his clients, the aforementioned Missouri Insurance Coalition, R. J. Reynolds, which contributed $1,000 and $500 from Competitive Enterprise Growth PAC, which is the front of Texas-based beer and liquor distributor Glazer's.
Out of state interests contributing to Richard, in addition to R. J. Reynolds, Competitive Enterprise Growth, and Harrah's were:
Specialty Finance Corporation, Spartanburg, N. C., $1,000; Keith and Cathy Burdick, Jenks, Okla., $500, Brundage Management Company, San Antonio, Texas, $500; Longview Communications, Reston, Va., $100; Community Loans of America, Atlanta, Ga., $500; Comcast, Southfield, Mich., $1,000.
Others giving to Richard included:
MBA (Missouri Bankers Association) Truman Region PAC $1,200; MBA Ozark Region PAC, $1,200; MBA Gateway Region PAC, $1,200; MBA State PAC, $1,200; MBA Mark Twain PAC, $1,200; MBA River Heritage Region PAC $1,200; MBA Capitol Region PAC, $300; Land Trust No. 125 LLC, O'Fallon, $1,250; Dealers Interested in Government, Jefferson City, $200; The Missouri Gaming Company, Riverside, $1,275; Missouri Health Care Association PAC, Jefferson City, $1,275; CNS Corporation, Kansas City, $1,000; Missouri Hospital Association Southwest District PAC, Jefferson City, $650; Missouri Podiatry PAC, Jefferson City, $200; Freeman Physicians Group, Joplin, $1,275; Gary and Suzanne Duncan, Joplin, $1,275; Elect Nodler Committee, Joplin, $500; Christopher and Barbara Doering, Chesterfield, $500; The Swan Group, Columbia, $500; Havenwood LLC, O'Fallon, $1,250; Citizens for Jay Wasson, Nixa, $1,275; Missouri Forest Products PAC, Jefferson City, $300; Missouri Association of Municipal Utilities, $500; MOSFA PAC, Inc., Jefferson City, $500; New Wave Communications, Sikeston, $100; District One Missouri Health Care Association, Jefferson City, $1,275; Missouri Health Care Association PAC, Jefferson City, $1,275; Realtors PAC of Missouri, Columbia, $1,275; Home Building Industry PAC, St. Louis, $1,200; Missouri Chamber PAC, Jefferson City, $1,275; Empire District Electric Company, Joplin, $1,275; Suddenlink Missouri PAC, DePrees, $300; Missouri Optometric PAC, Jefferson City, $1,275; Missouri Association of Insurance Agents, Jefferson City, $1,000
Richard put the money to good use in his campaign for Speaker of the House. The disclosure report indicates he contributed $25,000 to the Missouri House Republican Campaign Committee on March 1. He still has $55,213.75 in his account.