Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Lobbyist provides Indianapolis 500 tickets for Tilley

House Majority Leader Steven Tilley, R-Perryville accepted $340 worth of tickets to the indianapolis 500 May 24, according to documents posted on the Missouri Ethics Commission website earlier today.

The gift, which came from lobbyist Joseph Piertle, representing the Missouri Primary Care Association, is just the latest in a long line of big-ticket gifts and contributions for Tilley, who also serves as the House's Ethics Committee Chairman.

As noted in earlier editions of The Turner Report, Tilley picked up $200 in entertainment tickets from Ameristar Casino lobbyist Wiliam Gamble March 10. And from the Jan. 17 Turner Report:

Missouri Ethics Commission documents indicate House Majority Floor Leader Steven Tilley, R-Perryville, brought in the new year with a little help from his friend- Ameristar Casinos lobbyist Jorgen Schlemeier.

Schlemeier paid $1,742.28, $580.76 apiece in "lodging, meals, and entertainment" for Tilley, Sen. Jason Crowell, R-Cape Girardeau; and former Speaker of the House Rod Jetton to celebrate the ringing out of the old and the ringing in of the new at Ameristar Casino in Kansas City, the Gamble and Schlemeier client that footed the bill for the excursion, according to the Ethics Commission documents.

In addition to the lobbyists' gifts, Columbia Daily Tribune reporter Terry Ganey recently exposed how Tilley in his role as floor leader derailed legislation that would have kept his old friend, former Rep. Thomas Burcham, R-Farmington, from winning lawsuits against cities whose voters approved public safety sales tax. From Ganey's article:

The Missouri Municipal League sought passage of a bill to resolve a sales tax issue that had generated lawsuits against small cities around the state. Tom Burcham, the lawyer filing the suits, manages a political fund that contributed $110,000 in January to the “Friends of Tilley” campaign.

As majority leader, Tilley decides which bills come up in the House. Speaker Ron Richard, R-Joplin, supported the Municipal League’s bill, but Richard said Tilley would not bring it up.

Thanks to Tilley's actions, lawsuits have been threatened against cities all over the state, including Joplin and Granby in the southwest corner.

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