Saturday, April 29, 2006

Cashing in on voter IDs

It hasn't taken long for the vultures to circle in on the almost certain success of the bill which would require all Missourians to provide photographic voter IDs.
The Missouri Democratic Party noted in an April 18 press release that the bill mandates that "taxpayers pay (Governor) Blunt's fee office operators, some of whom gross as much as $700,000 a year, an additional $1 million for providing photo IDs to Missourians so that they can vote."
The bill, which was passed by the Senate April 20, is scheduled to have a hearing Monday before the House Rules Committee.
Undoubtedly, companies will be vying to provide these voter IDs and one of the companies that stands a good chance of landing the state contract is Austin, Texas-based BearingPoint. On March 21, BearingPoint, which describes itself as a "leading global management and technology consulting firm," announced a teaming with Colorado-based Archon Technologies to "jointly pursue opportunities to provide information technology solutions for vehicle registration, drivers licensing and revenue management services to state, provincial, territorial and local motor vehicle departments in the United States and Canada."
The BearingPoint news release continued, " 'By aligning our business processes and information systems with Archon, BearingPoint will be better able to provide states with cost effective solutions to comply with the federally-mandated Real ID Act,' said Gary Miglicco, vice president for BearingPoint’s National Motor Vehicle Solutions Practice. 'Together, our two firms will review potential opportunities and work together to provide clients with integrated solutions that will allow them to upgrade their current systems and deliver results to citizens and other key constituents in an accelerated time frame.' Miglicco said the companies have already identified nearly a dozen potential market opportunities for 2006 and beyond."
Assuredly, Missouri is one of those markets since the following day, March 22, a Missouri lobbyist, Jay Reichard, filed documents with the Missouri Ethics Commission registering BearingPoint as a client. Reichard has some interesting connections. He shares a number of clients with another lobbyist, Andrew Blunt, younger brother of Missouri Governor Matt Blunt, with most of those clients added to his list shortly after the governor took office.
Though Andrew Blunt is not listed as a lobbyist for BearingPoint (a wise move since the FBI is currently looking into the license fee operations in the state), there is little doubt that Blunt and Reichard are closely connected.
There is also little doubt that this is yet another chapter in the culture of corruption that encompasses Missouri.

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