Friday, May 23, 2008

Fired Up Missouri: Blunt administration violated Sunshine Law to help company connected to first lobbyist Andy

Fired Up Missouri, the blog which promotes Democratic party issues, has been writing about the unsuccessful attempt by the Blunt administration to drastically increase the amount of money people have to pay to obtain state vehicle and driver's license records. The blog has noted the increase was designed to benefit a client of Andy Blunt's lobbying partner Jay Reichard:

So, at this point we know that:

a) BearingPoint wanted a contract to build a multi-million dollar online portal for the state by which it could provide access to Department of Revenue records;

b) BearingPoint recommended to the state that it could afford this portal if it jacked the price charged for driving records up some 300,000%;

c) as we see in Lieb's story, state law on records provision prohibits the state from charging record requesters for costs associated with equipment like the web portal, as proposed by BearingPoint;

d) BearingPoint hired Andy Blunt partner Jay Reichard to lobby the Blunt Department of Revenue for the contract;

e) a compliant Blunt administration went ahead with the BearingPoint plan and awarded the contract, even in the face of the fact that the financing scheme was illegitimate;

f) legislators went nuts over the huge fee increase and killed the hike in the waning days of the legislative session.

By heavily supported inference, we also know that Matt Blunt and his administration aren't too big on enforcing or living by the terms of state record retention law when it's personally, politically or professionally inconvenient.

The connections between Bearing Point and Andy Blunt were first noted in the April 29, 2006, Turner Report, which noted the connection between Bearing Point and the Voter ID movement in Missouri:

It hasn't taken long for the vultures to circle in on the almost certain success of the bill which would require all Missourians to provide photographic voter IDs.
The Missouri Democratic Party noted in an April 18 press release that the bill mandates that "taxpayers pay (Governor) Blunt's fee office operators, some of whom gross as much as $700,000 a year, an additional $1 million for providing photo IDs to Missourians so that they can vote."
The bill, which was passed by the Senate April 20, is scheduled to have a hearing Monday before the House Rules Committee.
Undoubtedly, companies will be vying to provide these voter IDs and one of the companies that stands a good chance of landing the state contract is Austin, Texas-based BearingPoint. On March 21, BearingPoint, which describes itself as a "leading global management and technology consulting firm," announced a teaming with Colorado-based Archon Technologies to "jointly pursue opportunities to provide information technology solutions for vehicle registration, drivers licensing and revenue management services to state, provincial, territorial and local motor vehicle departments in the United States and Canada."
The BearingPoint news release continued, " 'By aligning our business processes and information systems with Archon, BearingPoint will be better able to provide states with cost effective solutions to comply with the federally-mandated Real ID Act,' said Gary Miglicco, vice president for BearingPoint’s National Motor Vehicle Solutions Practice. 'Together, our two firms will review potential opportunities and work together to provide clients with integrated solutions that will allow them to upgrade their current systems and deliver results to citizens and other key constituents in an accelerated time frame.' Miglicco said the companies have already identified nearly a dozen potential market opportunities for 2006 and beyond."
Assuredly, Missouri is one of those markets since the following day, March 22, a Missouri lobbyist, Jay Reichard, filed documents with the Missouri Ethics Commission registering BearingPoint as a client. Reichard has some interesting connections. He shares a number of clients with another lobbyist, Andrew Blunt, younger brother of Missouri Governor Matt Blunt, with most of those clients added to his list shortly after the governor took office.
Though Andrew Blunt is not listed as a lobbyist for BearingPoint (a wise move since the FBI is currently looking into the license fee operations in the state), there is little doubt that Blunt and Reichard are closely connected.
There is also little doubt that this is yet another chapter in the culture of corruption that encompasses Missouri.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It seems like "vulture" and "Blunt" are always one and the same.