It has to be tough for Missouri lobbyists' budgets these days. It seems that if you pay for a meal for powerful Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Gary Nodler, R-Joplin, you also have to pay for a meal for Nodler's wife, Joncee.
The tradition continued in March, according to documents posted this morning on the Missouri Ethics Commission website. Gary Nodler received $88.22 in lobbyists' gifts during the month, while Mrs. Nodler received a $23.26 meal paid for by David Hale, representing the Missouri Hospital Association.
Nodler's total for the year is $582.39, but when Mrs. Nodler's $107.60 is added to the total, it gives the couple $689.99, far more than the total recorded by other Southwest Missouri senators.
The Ethics Commission documents show Sen. Jack Goodman, R-Mount Vernon, with $225.45 for the year, including $16.68 in March; Sen. Delbert Scott, R-Lowry City, with $350.53 for 2009 and $35 for March; and $354.79 for Sen. Norma Champion, R-Springfield, including $67.25 in March.
As noted in earlier Turner Report posts, Mrs. Nodler has received meals this year from lobbyists representing the city of Joplin and Missouri State University.
In 2008, the Nodlers received $3,252.56 in lobbyists' gifts, including $1,339.29 for Mrs. Nodler. Those gifts were detailed in the April 1 Turner Report.
Of course, there are (at least) two sides to every story and Mrs. Nodler offered hers in a response to the April 1 post:
About the lobbyist expense reports, I've sometimes wondered where they get some of the numbers they show, but they do make for good stories. Admittedly, I do spend more time in Jeff City with my husband than most legislator's spouses. We like each other and are fortunate that we can spend time together. We prefer to spend that time privately, but when we are invited to dinner, we go together. I don't know why that bothers some people.