Saturday, July 29, 2006
Auditor candidate pays over $21,000 to firm with ties to license fee scandal
Sandra Thomas, the state auditor candidate favored by many of the GOP's bigwigs, including Gov. Matt Blunt and Congressman Sam Graves, paid more than $21,000 to a firm created by the same attorney responsible for organizing the license fee office management companies that are under investigation by the FBI.
Documents filed July 17 with the Missouri Ethics Commission indicate Ms. Thomas, who is Platte County auditor, paid the money to Axiom Strategies, LLC, for campaign staffing, envelopes, business cards, letterhead, and miscellaneous items. Axiom is a campaign consulting firm run by former Graves chief of staff Jeff Roe, who is also the author of the Republican blog, The Source.
Axiom was organized Dec. 6, 2005, according to documents on file with the Missouri Secretary of State's office, by Jamison Shipman, an attorney for the powerful Kansas City law firm of Lathrop & Gage. Shipman is the lawyer who was responsible for organizing the management firms that were created to run license fee offices. The same AP article cited earlier in this paragraph indicated that lobbyist and former state representative Jewell Patek was shopping Highridge Services, a management firm to Republicans who were awarded the lucrative fee offices. Patek also runs a campaign consulting firm, Election Day Enterprises, which has employed Roe in the past.
Ms. Thomas left no doubts about the type of scrutiny she would give to license fee office management during a recent interview with the Cape Girardeau Southeast Missourian, in which she was more concerned about whether the offices saved money rather than about any problems that were uncovered in State Auditor Claire McCaskill's recent audit of newly privatized license fee offices.
Ms. Thomas' campaign treasurer is CPA Nick Myers, who was awarded the license fee office in Joplin by Governor Blunt.
Among the campaign contributions she lists are $1,275 from Myers, $1,275 from Roe, and $524.50 from Neosho fee agent David Jerome.