Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Audit: Contributions influence Housing Commission

A report issued today by State Auditor Susan Montee indicates political contributions have played a big role in projects getting through the Missouri Housing Development Commission:

"The perception is clearly out there that there is a system in place that encourages campaign contributions in return for projects. Whether that's the case or not, it certainly is a perception," said Montee at a press conference in Jefferson City.
The audit covers between 2006 and 2008, when Governor Matt Blunt, Lieutenant Governor Peter Kinder, Attorney General Jay Nixon and Treasurer Sarah Steelman were the four elected officials on the commission. The MHDC has four statewide officials and six other commissioners.
While Montee's audit noted that it was difficult to match "specific donations to developers," it concluded that the perception is that money influences how the projects are selected.
"Something we don't talk about here implicitly in the conflict of interest is whether or not there needs to be a total different way of dealing with the fact that developers are giving campaign contributions to commissioners," Montee said.

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