The news that one of the most powerful politicians in southwest Missouri, Speaker-in-waiting Ron Richard, went before the Missouri Ethics Commission during a closed door session, claimed a hardship, and was allowed to keep more than $80,000 in excess campaign contributions was in the Saturday Springfield News-Leader and appeared Friday in the Kansas City Star and St. Louis Post-Dispatch. The first place it was seen was in the March 20 Turner Report.
Unless it ran as an AP story in the Saturday Globe (I did not see the print copy), the one paper that should have provided its readers with that information, The Joplin Globe, has not done so.
The story was obviously available to the Globe, since it subscribes to Associated Press, but it would have been nice if the Globe editors would have assigned a reporter to get the complete story with the Joplin angle.
Why did Richard have to beg to keep the money when other area politicians, including Sen. Gary Nodler, R-Joplin, and Rep. Bryan Stevenson, R-Webb City, did not have to do so, and quickly returned the oversized contributions.
As I noted in the March 20 post, Richard spent nearly $100,000 out of his campaign war chest in the final two days before the Missouri Supreme Court ruling was issued, sprinkling it liberally (a word you would not normally connect with Ron Richard) to numerous House Republican colleagues as he built support for his ultimately successful effort to be the speaker-in-waiting during Rod Jetton's final year.
It appears there may be more politicians than just the 11 mentioned in the first Ethics Commission ruling. It is hard to tell since the Commission, which is supposed to be a beacon of light in our complicated election system, closed the doors on its meetings so we have no way of knowing just what Ron Richard or any of the others said and why they should be treated differently than other elected officials.
Hopefully, some of our upstate media will pick up on this, but it sure would be nice if the hometown paper would do its job and put Ron Richard on the record.