When Senate Majority Leader Charlie Shields arrived in St. Louis to receive the Lewis and Clark Statesman Award from the St. Louis Regional Chamber and Growth Association Aug. 18, the St. Joseph Republican was greeted at the airport by a chauffeur-driven vehicle to take him to the hotel, courtesy of RCGA lobbyist Chip Casteel.
Casteel also footed the bill for Shields' meals and lodging which, combined with the chauffeur service amounted to $272.14.
The award, according to the RCGA website, "recognizes Missouri and Illinois legislators who have distinguished themselves through outstanding leadership in support of economic development in the bi-state region." Shields was one of 13 Missouri legislators to receive the award during the ceremonies, which were held at the Four Seasons Hotel in downtown St. Louis. Only two are pictured on the RCGA website photos of the event, Shields and Rep. David Pearce, R. Warrensburg, who also received lodging and meals from Casteel, but apparently did not need the chauffeur service.
It was not the last time Casteel, also the senior vice president of public policy for the RCGA, would pay the freight for Shields. A little more than a month later, according to Missouri Ethics Commission records, Shields received $2,375 for lodging, meals, and transportation for a three-day RCGA "Leadership Trip" to Chicago.
The $2,647.14 Shields received from the RCGA lobbyist for four days in August and September was more than all but four senators have received for the entire year, but it took more than the RCGA to put Shields at the top of The Turner Report Hall of Shame.
Ethics Commission documents show Shields has accepted $5,287.50 in lobbyists' gifts during the first 11 months of 2008. the list includes seven Democrats and three Republicans. Others making the Hall of Shame were:
2. Tom Dempsey, R-St. Peters, $5,042.47
3. Jolie Justis, D-Kansas City, $4,069.05
4. Timothy Green, D-Florissant, $3,935.72
5. Maida Coleman, D-St. Louis, $3,053.29
6. Chuck Graham, D-Columbia, $2,644
7. Rita Days, D-St. Louis, $2,398.40
8. Joan Bray, D-St. Louis, $2,390.14
9. Ryan McKenna, D-Crystal City, $2,229.60
10. John Griesheimer, R-Washington, $2,204.57
Shields' gifts also included one which he specifically solicited, according to Ethics Commission documents, $255 for meals, food, and beverage from Phillip Schneiders, lobbyist for the Missouri Automobile Dealers Association. In what may or may not be a coincidence, only nine days earlier, lobbyist William Gamble paid $255, listed as "meals, food and beverage" and described as "donation for Central High School Theatre Department." That gift was not listed as a solicitation. Though Gamble's many clients include Ameristar Casinos, those listed as contributing $51 apiece toward the $255 were Missouri Association of Councils of Government, Independent Colleges and Universities of Missouri, Missouri Railroad Association, Missouri Beverage Association, and Missouri Association for Career and Technical Education.
Shields must have been hungry on May 6 when he accepted two meals, each totaling $219 from lobbyists Jorgen Schlemeier and Sherry Doctorian.
Schlemeier, Gamble's partner in the Gamble & Schlemeier firm, listed the Missouri Beverage Association, Missouri Railroad Association, and Missouri Pharmacy Association as contributing to the cost, while Ms. Doctorian was representing the law firm of Armstrong Teasdale, according to the Ethics Commission documents.
Sen. Shields, you might recall, was the one who spearheaded the successful drive to repeal campaign contribution limits.
More members of the Hall of Shame will be profiled in later posts.