More fun was on tap today for former Joplin Globe Editor Edgar Simpson, who now serves as chief of staff to Ohio Attorney General Marc Dann.
According to an article in the Dayton Daily News, Dann "bought a 2007 Chevy Suburban from a campaign contributor for $40,374 when he could have purchased a full-size SUV through the state's fleet management system for $25,899."
Simpson, who might have been skeptical of such a deal when he was a member of the Fourth Estate, now has a hard time understanding what it is about such dealings that interests the media:
On the campaign trail, Dann routinely railed against "pay to play" politics where unbid state contracts go to campaign contributors. But Dann's Chief of Staff Ed Simpson said, "Bottomline is, no, there was no pay to play."
He added, "Five-hundred dollars. It's not a very big contribution, is it?"
Dann could have purchased a Chevy Tahoe with a police package for $28,778 or a Ford Expedition for $25,899 through the state Department of Administrative Services. DAS negotiates volume discounts from dealers for state vehicles.
"The one that we decided would work best for Marc was not on the DAS list. That's why we didn't go there," Simpson said.
Simpson said Dann wanted a vehicle with seating for the staff that often travel with him and could take him on law enforcement raids. The DAS SUVs are basic vehicles without the needed options, said Leo Jennings, III, Dann's communications director.