Sunday, May 28, 2006
Shine the light on everything except lobbyists
Many of the so-called campaign reforms that will go into effect if Governor Matt Blunt signs HB1900 were included in Senate Bill 1254, which was co-sponsored by nearly the entire Senate, including Gary Nodler, R-Joplin, Jack Goodman, R-Mount Vernon, Delbert Scott, R-Lowry City, and Norma Champion, R-Springfield.
Nodler, in particular, did not stint in his praise of the Senate bill. In a news release dated March 13, Nodler wrote, "Senate Bill 1254, which I am co-sponsoring, is considering to be the most significant reform to the Missouri system of campaign-finance ethics. Under the legislation, we will bring accountability and transparency to the campaign contribution process so the public can easily follow the trail of campaign money."
It would seem then, that one of the prime targets of the Senate bill and the currently pending House bill, is Sen. Nodler himself.
In his recent examination of Nodler's campaign records, Joplin Globe investigative reporter Max McCoy wrote:
"More than $20,000 in contributions - about 9 percent of Nodler's total - came from individuals for whom no occupation or employer information was listed in reports to the Missouri Ethics Commission, a computer-aided data analysis by the Globe found."
A computer-aided data analysis by The Turner Report (well, I did it while I was sitting at the computer) indicates Nodler has received at least 24 campaign contributions from registered lobbyists and only three of those were listed as lobbyists on the disclosure forms filed with the Missouri Ethics Commission.
In fact, 11 of those contributions, totaling $2,250, listed no employer whatsoever. Others were listed by the name of the company, none of which, as you might guess, have the term lobby in the title, while others were dressed up in such euphemisms as "consultant," "business," or "governmental consultant."
In the period between January 2002 and August 2005, Nodler never listed any lobbyist as a lobbyist. All three who were listed as lobbyists were listed in the October 2005 quaterly report, which even though I am sure it is just a coincidence came after The Turner Report began writing about Nodler's campaign contributions from lobbyists and how none of them were listed as such.
In all, lobbyists have contributed at least $5,875 to Nodler's campaigns. And that figure does not include money which has been guided to his campaign through the shell committees that the new legislation is supposed to end. It also does not include money from special interests that is arranged through the good graces of these lobbyists and others whose names are not on any campaign contribution check.
Among the lobbyists who contributed to the Elect Nodler Committee were:
Sept. 5, 2001- John Winburn, listed as consultant, lobbyist for Altria, Bell South, Pfizer, Apple, $550
March 26, 2002- Tony Feather, lobbyist for Advocates for School Choice, AT&T, listed by his firm, Feather, Larsen and Synhorst, $575
March 29, 2002- Lance Beshore, officer and lobbyist for Leggett & Platt, listed as Leggett & Platt, $575
Oct. 22, 2002- J. Scott Marrs, lobbyist for Branson Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce, city of Springfield, listed as governmental consultant, $150
Aug. 13, 2003- Gary Burton, lobbyist for city of Joplin, Isle of Capri casinos, Missouri Cable Telecommunications Association, Missouri Council of School Administrators, no employment listed, $150
Aug. 13, 2003- Kyna Iman, lobbyist for Missouri Southern State University, no employment listed, $150
Aug. 13, 2003- Stephen Murray, lobbyist for Aquila, no employment listed, $150
Aug. 28, 2003- Lance Beshore, lobbyist for Leggett & Platt, no employment listed
Sept. 9, 2003- David Klarich, lobbyist for AT&T, MOHELA, no employment listed, $200
Aug. 3, 2004- Sharon Beshore, wife of Lance Beshore, lobbyist for Leggett & Platt, no employment listed, $600
Aug. 10, 2004- Iman, no employment listed, $175
Aug 11, 2004- The Swain Group, a lobbying firm working for Missouri Energy Group and Verizon, listed by company name, $175
April 25, 2005- Marrs, no employment listed, $150
April 25, 2005- Burch & Associates, lobbying firm run by former State Representative Jerry Burch, lobbyist for Branson Area Chamber of Commerce, Missouri State University, $250
April 25, 2005- Iman, no employment listed, $150
April 25, 2005- Douglas Burnett, lobbyist for Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives, no employment listed, $100
April 26, 2005- Mark Rhoads, lobbyist for AT&T, Blue Cross Blue Shield, no employment listed, $600
April 26, 2005- Gary Sharpe, lobbyist for Missouri Association of Elementary School Principals, Missouri Association of School Administrators, Missouri Council of School Administrators, no employment listed, $150
April 26, 2005- Penman & Winton Consulting Group, Inc., listed under business name, $250
June 17, 2005- William E. Shoehigh, lobbyist for Microsoft, Apollo Group (which donated $500 to Nodler), listed simply as "business," $100
Aug. 5, 2005- Gerald Grimaldi, lobbyist for Truman Medical Center, listed as Truman Medical Center, $100
Aug. 8, 2005- Roy Cagle, lobbyist for Missouri Finance Institute, listed as lobbyist, $250
Aug. 8, 2005- J. Scott Marrs, listed as governmental consultant, $300
Aug. 10, 2005- James Farrell, lobbyist for a number of St. Louis interests, listed as lobbyist, $175
Aug. 10, 2005- Iman, listed as lobbyist, $175
Nodler concluded his March 13 news release by writing, "Political campaigns should be conducted appropriately, responsibly and ethically to reflect the integrity of the candidate."
I couldn't have said it any better myself.