Saturday, July 14, 2007

Richard receives contributions from 'self-employed' lobbyists

If there is nothing wrong with receiving campaign contributions from lobbyists, why do politicians consistently find ways to refer to them by some other job title or description.
I first came across this about 10 years ago when I was noticed that a number of "governmental consultants" were listed on Rep. T. Mark Elliott's disclosure reports. When I checked those against a list of registered lobbyists, I was amazed to find that all of them were on the list.
I have seen other lobbyists listed by the company name, which is perfectly legal, but none of these companies put any form of the word lobbying in their titles; I have seen them listed as housewives, and I have seen them listed as being in the employ of one of the companies for whom they lobby. Sometimes the person does work for one company and is registered to lobby for that company.

The latest example of this reluctance to call a lobbyist a lobbyist is in the campaign disclosure form filed today by Rep. Ron Richard, R-Joplin. Two lobbyists are simply referred to as being "self-employed," and two others are listed by their companies.

-James Harris, self-employed, contributed $1,000. According to Missouri Ethics Commission documents, Harris represents 3 Trails Redevelopment, Kansas City; Comcast, J.H. Berra Construction Company, McEagle Northpark LLC, O'Fallon; and St. Luke's Health System.

-Nathan Adams, also listed as self-employed, contributed $1,000. His clients include Alanco, Scottsdale, Ariz., a company that makes electronic devices to track transportation and prisoners; Heartland Spine and Specialty Hospital, Overland Park, Kan., and McKesson, a San Francisco company that deals with health information technology.

-Burch and Associates, headed by former Rep. Jerry Burch, D-Walker, contributed $250. Burch represents a number of diverse interests, including Missouri State University, City of Springfield, and the Branson Area Chamber of Commerce.

-Shelby Neal, listed under her company, Silver Oak Strategies, chipped in with $300. Neal represents Brady Stevens, Joplin; James R. Moody and Associates, Mid-American Biofuels, Missouri Soybean Association, and Osborn & Barr Communications, St. Louis.

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