Speaker of the House Ron Richard, R-Joplin, who backs a new Ameren UE nuclear plant as part of his jobs plan, tells the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that Ameren's big bucks have nothing whatsoever to do with the support he and others are giving the company's project:
House Speaker Ron Richard, R-Joplin, has indicated that repealing the CWIP ban is part of his job-generation agenda, even though Ameren is still two years from making a firm decision and construction work probably wouldn't begin until a year or two after that.
Richard, however, bristled at the thought that Ameren was using its financial might to get its way. The company's political action committee and various executives contributed more than $300,000 to Missouri lawmakers in the most recent election cycle after a couple of years of very little political giving.
"I don't care if they give me a dollar or a million dollars," Richard said. "If you can't take their money and eat their chicken and say no, you've got no business being around here."
And let's make it absolutely clear, to be fair to Rep. Richard, he has not received one dollar or a million dollars from Ameren UE. However, he did receive a $7,500 contribution from the Ameren Oct. 14, another $7,500 contribution on Oct. 27, and he had already received a maximum $325 contribution Aug. 12 before contribution limits were rescinded.
Ethics Commission reports do not mention anything about their chicken.