Monday, July 31, 2006

Blunt confederate signs new prison health client

The state of Missouri is in the bidding process for prison health care services and a Pittsburgh, Pa. company may have the inside track, if past events are any indication.
According to the Missouri Ethics Commission, on July 28, lobbyist Jay Reichard added Wexford Health Services to his impressive list of clients. Those who read The Turner Report regularly will recognize Reichard's name.
Shortly before Governor Matt Blunt was sworn into office, Schreimann, Rackers, Francka & Blunt LLC, the law firm that includes the governor's brother, lobbyist Andrew Blunt, hired Reichard to lobby the executive branch, since, of course, it would be highly unethical, though not illegal, for Andrew Blunt to lobby his brother.
That was not the story put out by Andrew Blunt's firm. Reichard was hired to help him handle his major clients, Andrew Blunt told the St. Louis Business Journal:

"We didn't hire Jay to lobby the executive branch, but to assist with my clients. He does an excellent job serving our clients wherever they need to be serviced. Jay Reichard is not related to the governor and is free to lobby anybody he wants."

Among the clients Reichard picked up at that time were Ameren UE, AT&T, Burlington Northern, Kraft Foods, Missouri Hospital Association, and Phillip Morris.

Since that time, Jay Reichard has added at least two other clients, in addition to Wexford, that he does not share with Andrew Blunt, but which have reason to develop connections with the state's executive branch.
In the April 29 Turner Report, it was noted that Reichard registered on March 22 that Austin, Texas-based firm "BearingPoint," which provides voter identification photos and materials needed to comply with the federal Real ID Act.
On Jan. 27, 2006, Reichard registered with the Ethics Commission as a lobbyist for the McCarthy Group, a company that provides election systems and software.
One client Reichard does share with Andrew Blunt, as revealed in the Feb. 15, 2006, Turner Report, is AGP, an Omaha-based company which will open an ethanol production plant this fall.
As I noted in that entry:

AGP has been a major player in Missouri politics for quite some time, according to Federal Election Commission documents. Over the past four years the company's political action committee has contributed $12,000 to Senator Jim Talent, $6,000 to Senator Kit Bond, $10,000 to Congressman Sam Graves, and $10,500 to Rep. Kenny Hulshof.
Governor Blunt's campaign contribution disclosure forms do not include any donations from AG Processing, but he has received $2,200 over the past two election cycles from the Omaha offices of the national law firm Kutak Rock. According to Kutak Rock's website, the law firm serves as counsel "for the acquisition, construction and financing of ethanol plants."

Reichard and Blunt added another client in December, the Friedman Foundation, started by noted economist Milton Friedman. The foundation fights for educational vouchers, an idea first formulated by Friedman in the 1950s.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

So, do you think he's getting ready to go for bigger and finer things on the national scene?