Newton County political sources told The Turner Report a tale that shows that Matt Blunt is continuing to employ the play-for-pay method of making political appointments, even during the waning months of his only term as governor.
After Prosecuting Attorney Scott Watson opted to resign and take a position with St. John's Regional Medical Center, the Newton County Republican Central Committee refused to back down to Gov. Matt Blunt's demand that it help him pay back one of his major contributors by nominating the man's daughter to replace Watson.
The attempt to install attorney Anne Wells, daughter of Moark bigwig Jerry Wells, into the prosecuting attorney's office was first noted by Fired Up Missouri blogger Howard Beale in a Jan. 8 post, which was quickly brushed aside when Skouby's appointment was announced.
Beale had it right on the money...and that is exactly the way to phrase it. Beale wrote:
Insiders familiar with the situation believe the appointment will go to Anne Wells. Why? Why else: because she, her family and their business have a long history of giving cash to Matt Blunt in large quantities.
In fact, since 2003, Anne Wells has given no less than $29,750 to Missourians for Matt Blunt. Most notably, Wells gave Blunt a massive $25,000 check in June 2007. This in addition to checks of $1,200 in 2005, $1,200 in 2004, and $2,350 in 2003 ($1,175 came from her law firm) which means Blunt is into Wells for nearly thirty large.
And this barely scratches the surface, as it doesn't include the tens of thousands given to Blunt by Wells/ father, Jerry Wells, both personally and through MOARK, at which he is an executive.
When Blunt asked the Newton County Republican Central Committee to recommend possible replacements for Watson, the governor let it be known that he wanted Ms. Wells' name to be on that list.
In an act of political courage, especially considering how brutally the Blunt administration has dealt with Republicans who get in its way (see Scott Eckersley), the committee, rightly ascertaining that no one else would receive any consideration on a list that included Ms. Wells' name, refused to nominate her, instead submitting the names of Skouby and longtime Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Bill Dobbs. Committee members also made it understood that their preference was for Dobbs, who not only has been an efficient prosecutor, but also has been a heavy lifter for the Newton County Republican Party.
Blunt, irritated by the committee's action, reportedly considered appointing Ms. Wells anyway, but instead opted to punish the committee by not going along with its recommendation, and appointing Skouby rather than Dobbs.
Though it was an undeserved blow for Dobbs, who has worked hard for the position, Newton County Republicans attempted to make sure by submitting Skouby's name that they would have a qualified prosecuting attorney rather than someone who bought the office with campaign contributions.
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The Turner Report will live blog the Democratic debate tonight.