Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Roe: Fee offices were handled properly

Leave it to blogger and Republican political consultant Jeff Roe to begin the bragging early after Missouri fee offices were not brought up during former U. S. Attorney Todd Graves' testimony today before the Senate Judiciary Committee:

Perhaps local Democrats should take a hint from their national leaders and realize that their partisan grandstanding won’t turn a non-issue into something it is not. The dissemination of fee offices by the Blunt administration was fair and proper, and followed the same patterns as governors from both parties who preceded him. No amount of arm-waving or brain-twisting will change that.

In the first place, the words fair and proper have never had any place in discussions of how license fee offices have been awarded no matter which party was in power. The first major Missouri politician who called for something to be done about this was then-governor Kit Bond. Nothing was, and the problems have continued through both Democratic and Republican administrations since that time.

What the Blunt administration has done has turn the awarding of fee offices into an art form, complete with corporations set up to take care of running the fee offices for those who are the chosen ones.

Those corporations, as regular Turner Report readers will recall, were set up by a lawyer named Jamison Shipman, who at the time was with Lathrop & Gage. Shipman also set up Axiom Strategies, Roe's consulting firm.

Roe's former boss, Sixth District Congressman Sam Graves, was connected to a number of those who received license fee offices and Bond (though it was his staff who received the credit for it) knew that the odor that was coming from Jefferson City was not just politics as usual, and his staff contacted the Department of Justice to let them know of Graves' brother, U. S. Attorney Todd Graves' ethically questionable connection to the fee office contracts.

After State Auditor Claire McCaskill began taking an interest in the management of the fee offices, knowing she was a lame duck because of her decision to run for the U. S. Senate, Blunt and Sam Graves made the decision to put their considerable influence behind a virtual unknown, Platte County Auditor Sandra Thomas, for state auditor, since the auditor, of course, is the one who can look into dealings involving license fee offices. I can't recall two officials of that caliber ever backing an unknown in a race that included three other GOP elected officials. The treasurer for Ms. Thomas' campaign was Joplin license fee office recipients Nick Myers, contributions came from several other fee office recipients, and Graves and Graves-controlled committees poured thousands and thousands of dollars into the Thomas campaign.

The man who ran the campaign, which proved unsuccessful with election of Susan Montee as auditor, was none other than Jeff Roe, through Axiom Strategies.

Jeff Roe can feel free to boast about the lack of fee office testimony today. That's his right. But if he had any decency, he would leave the words "fair and proper" out of it.

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