Rep. Shannon Cooper, R-Clinton, seems determined to have lobbyists pay his way to every available concert before term limits end his time in Jefferson City in January.
Documents posted today on the Missouri Ethics Commission website show University of Missouri lobbyist Erin Elliott provided Cooper with $300 worth of Willie Nelson tickets for the country legend's July 22 performance at Jesse Auditorium. In all, Cooper received $413.76 worth of lobbyists' gifts, lifting him over the $5,000 mark for 2008 .
The Willie Nelson concert is the latest in a long list of lobbyist-financed entertainment for Cooper. In the April 24 Turner Report, it was noted that Ameristar Casino lobbyists paid for Cooper to see Jimmy Buffett live.
From the Feb. 10, 2007, Turner Report:
By all accounts, the performance given by country music legend George Jones June 10, 2007, at the Ameristar Casino in Kansas City was a rousing success and Rep. Shannon Cooper, R-Clinton, had eight tickets to that event, worth $440, courtesy of lobbyist Betsy Morgan.
Though Missouri Ethics Commission documents show that Ms. Morgan's clients who footed the bill for the tickets were the Missouri Beverage Association and the Missouri Railroad Association.
Another of Ms. Morgan's clients, which was not mentioned on the disclosure form, is Ameristar Casinos.
From the Oct. 6, 2007, Turner Report:
May 9 was a big night for freebies for Shannon Cooper. He accepted five Kenny Chesney tickets worth $345 from Stephen Knorr, University of Missouri lobbyist, and $343 in travel and lodging from Ameristar Casinos lobbyist Jorgen Schlemeier, though Schlemeier only attributed a part of the cost to Ameristar, since it was the last day of the legislative session, it appears Cooper did quite a bit of celebrating.
Cooper also received a ticket to a Gordon Lightfoot concert, worth $50 from James R. Moody, representing Carlson Gardner of Springfield.
Cooper's gifts also included Missouri wine, valued at $15, from lobbyist William Shoehigh, representing United Health Care.
Cooper also took a cruise provided by Ameristar Casinos lobbyist Sarah Topp during the National Conference of State Legislators in August.