While 127th District State Representative Steve Hunter accepted the largest amount of gifts from lobbyists this year, as was mentioned earlier this week in The Turner Report, he was not alone among area legislators in accepting gifts.
Missouri Ethics Commission records show that Ron Richard accepted gifts totaling $973.32, followed by Kevin Wilson at $825.41, State Senator Gary Nodler at $694.47, Ed Emery at $341.21, and Marilyn Ruestman at $229.09.
Of course, these totals only involve gifts that were given directly to the legislators. Not included are instances in which the lobbyists provide meals, drink, entertainment, or other gifts to the whole Senate, the whole House, committees or to the Republican or Democrat caucuses.
Following is a breakdown of the gifts accepted by each area legislator:
Marilyn Ruestman- The largest expenditure $50 was made by William Gamble. Gamble represents a number of interests, including Ameristar Casinos, but the lobbyists themselves have not filed thei reports for August so it is unclear who Gamble was representing. Ms. Ruestman also received smaller amounts in gifts from lobbyists representing Empire District Electric, Missouri Soft Drink Association, and DK Governmental Solutions, among others. All gifts were in the category of meals, food, and beverage.
Ed Emery- The largest amounts given to Emery, all in the category of meals, food, and beverage were about $39 apiece from loybbists representing Empire District Electric and the Missouri Association of Municipal Utilities.
Gary Nodler- Four hundred forty dollars of Nodler's $644.47, came in a 10-day span in August nearly two months after the 2004 legislative session ended. Ethics Commission records indicate Nodler received $67 in "entertainment" and $73 in "entertainment", both on Aug. 1, from former State Representative Jerry Burch, who appeared to be functioning as the lobbyist for the Branson Chamber of Commerce. Burch also represents Southwest Missouri State University and other interests. Ten days later, Nodler received $300 in the category of "other" from Kent Gaines, lobbyist for the Kansas City Chiefs and Kansas City Royals. Nodler had received $50 in "entertainment" from Gaines on Jan. 11.
Kevin Wilson- Branson entertainment was provided to Kevin Wilson, who received $124.59 worth of entertainment on three separate occasions, once on May 28, and twice on June 7 from Burch, according to Ethics Commission records. Wilson paid back the money on one of those occasions. On April 13, he received $157.06 in "meals, food, and beverage" from Mary Scruggs of the Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives. Other amounts were $90 in entertainment Jan. 20 from Allen James Snider, University of Missouri;$50.95 meals, Randy Scherr, Chemical Council of Missouri; $85.04 May 9 from J. Scott Marris, City of Springfield, Missouri Hospital Association; and $30, May 14, from James Kistler, Associated Industries of Missouri.
Ron Richard- The final item in Ron Richard's gift listings for 2004 is the most intriguing. According to the Etchis Commission records. All other records are listed in chronological order through Aug. 23 when he received $61.61 from Chris Liese, who is a partner with former State Representative Gary Burton in a lobbying firm, which represents among other clients, the Isle of Capri Casinos. After that listing, Richard apparently belatedly filed a $168.37 gift given on May 1 by lobbyist Richard Doherty, representing Harrah's Entertainment of Las Vegas. Richard also received $60 in entertainment Feb. 18 from Allen James Snider, University of Missouri; $83.06 in entertainment April 19 from Daniel Mehan, Missouri Chamber of Commerce; another $46.38 in meals from Mehan on May 5, and $80 in entertainment from Kent Gaines, Kansas City Royals, on July 20. Richard also received meals from lobbyists for SWC, Gary Burton and Associates, Travel Club Association, Monsanto, Missouri Automobile Dealers, and Empire District Electric, among others.