The St. Louis Post-Dispatch has certainly crawled under the skin of Speaker of the House Tim Jones, R-Eureka, with its reporting on lobbyists' gifts Jones has received and how he has reimbursed them with money from his campaign bank account.
"I am offended by the Post-Dispatch making false accusations," Jones tells interviewer Lee Presser in the accompanying interview. "It's bordering on defamation and libel."
"I hold myself to the highest ethical standard," Jones added.
The new speaker is offended that anyone thinks he could be bought for "a $10 hamburger."
Jones said it was "insane to suggest that (lobbyists' gifts) influence my decisions."
Not only do lobbyists not hold any sway over Jones, but he says it doesn't happen with his fellow representatives. "I haven't seen it."
Jones indicates he sees so many people he can barely remember who has bought him a cup of coffee or a sandwich and he cannot understand the St. Louis Post-Dispatch's obsession with such a trivial matter.
As for reimbursing lobbyists from his campaign account, Jones says his contributors don't mind and know that he does not go along with what lobbyists want unless it is "good policy for the state of Missouri."
In the nearly half hour interview, Jones also offered an explanation of why every Democrat on the statewide ticket was successful except one- They all pretended to be Republican. And, of course, Jones notes, secretary of state-elect Jason Kander "wrapped himself in the flag."