The biggest oxymoron in Missouri politics can be expressed in four words- Ethics Chairman Steve Tilley.
The Perryville Republican, who also serves as House majority leader, is back in the news, thanks to some nifty work by veteran investigative reporter Terry Ganey of the Columbia Daily Tribune.
The Missouri Municipal League sought passage of a bill to resolve a sales tax issue that had generated lawsuits against small cities around the state. Tom Burcham, the lawyer filing the suits, manages a political fund that contributed $110,000 in January to the “Friends of Tilley” campaign.
As majority leader, Tilley decides which bills come up in the House. Speaker Ron Richard, R-Joplin, supported the Municipal League’s bill, but Richard said Tilley would not bring it up.
Burcham's lucrative efforts have brought him to Joplin, as Ganey's article noted, and as was spelled out in Debby Woodin's article in the Friday Joplin Globe. The article notes how Burcham (thanks to Tilley's intervention) is attempting to eliminate the voter-approved public safety sales tax in Joplin.
At the end of her article, Ms. Woodin notes just what kind of horrible things Burcham is trying to stop from happening in Joplin:
The fund has been used to install more street lights in neighborhoods with elevated crime rates, hire more police officers and firefighters and equip police with more sophisticated computers, laptops and ticket writers and put in a police substation. The city currently is looking for a site to build a fire substation to service residents in the growing west section of the city.
And our House Ethics Chairman has made it possible for a top contributor to put an end to that kind of skullduggery.