Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Nixa legislator accepts no meals from lobbyists, but has no problem with campaign cash

When something seems too good to be true, it usually is.
In the Sunday Springfield News-Leader, reporter Amos Bridges quoted Rep. Jay Wasson, R-Nixa as follows:

"I don't have a problem with other people (accepting free meals), but for me personally, if I'm going to be voting on something, I'd just as soon buy my own dinner and pay my own bills. That way, I don't have to worry about where the line's drawn."

While Wasson draws the line at accepting meals, drinks, gifts, travel, or entertainment from the hundreds of lobbyists who haunt the halls in Jefferson City, Missouri Ethics Commission records indicate he has no problem with taking money from lobbyists, none of whom is identified as a lobbyist in his campaign disclosure reports.

During just two days in late 2005, Wasson collected $1,650 from registered lobbyists, $600 from clients of one of the lobbyists, and $5,800 from clients of the powerful Gamble and Schlemeier lobbying firm, indicating that at least $8,050 of Wasson's campaign funds can be traced to lobbyists.

The Ethics Commission documents show that on Nov. 17, 2005, Wasson collected the then-maximum $300 from J. Scott Marrs, listed as J. Scott Marrs Governmental Services, L. Kent Gaines, listed as Gaines and Brown Consulting, Travis Brown, listed as Gaines and Brown Consulting, and the Gaines and Brown Consulting Firm.

On the same day, Wasson picked up maximum $300 contributions from six Gamble and Schlemeier clients- Residential Care Facility PAC, Missouri Assisted Living PAC, Missouri Psychological Associates PAC, Missouri Physician Assistant PAC, MORESPAC, and Missouri Pharmacy PAC. Gamble & Schlemeier also represent the Missouri Dental Association, and while that group is not listed as a contributor, 14 dentists or dental firms chipped in with $4,000 in donations, most of them for the maximum on Nov. 17.

Less than a month later, on Dec. 10, 2005, Wasson brought in another $1,050 linked to lobbyists, including $300 from Patek and Associates, the lobbying firm fronted by former Rep. Jewell Patek, and $150 from Larry Cole, lobbyist at that time for Christian Health Care. Cole's clients, Christian Health Care, Inc., and Christian Health Care Inc Personnel, each kicked in $300.

Wasson's connections with lobbyists extended into 2006. Ethics Commission documents show that lobbyist Travis Brown clients Missouri Ambulatory Surgery Center Association and Missouri Society of Anesthesiologists contributed $1,950 on May 3.
That amount would have been over the campaign contribution limits at the time, but there were ways of getting around those pesky limits.
Wasson received maximum $325 contributions from the following:
-Missouri Ambulatory Surgery Center Association PAC West
-Missouri Ambulatory Surgery Center Association PAC East
-Missouri Ambulatory Surgery Center Association PAC North
-Missouri Ambulatory Surgery Center Association PAC South
-Missouri Society of Anesthesiologists
-Western Anesthesiology Associates, Inc. PAC

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