Sunday, October 02, 2011

Missouri Republican ALEC members, spouses, wined, dined during New Orleans convention, taxpayers foot the bill

While lobbyists were taking care of Missouri Republican legislators and their spouses' every need during the three-day American Legislative Exchange Council annual conference in New Orleans Aug. 3-5, Missouri taxpayers, already reeling from cuts those legislators made to state programs, essentially paid for their travel and lodging expenses since the legislation they will return with is generally designed to benefit only the wealthiest in the state.

Among those attending were Speaker of the House in waiting Rep. Tim Jones and Rep. Shane Schoeller, R-Springfield, who is expected to be a candidate for secretary of state next year.

The list of ALEC members were printed recently on the Franklin County Democrats website after it obtained a letter sent from Missouri Association of Electric Cooperatives lobbyist Mary Scruggs to ALEC members:

From: Mary Scruggs []
Sent: Friday, June 24, 2011 1:58 PM
Subject: ALEC invitation
Importance: High

Attached you will find an invitation for Missouri Night at the ALEC Conference in New Orleans. The ALEC Conference is August 3-6, with state night on Friday, August 5th. We are a little over a month away and are trying to get an accurate head count of attendees, please RSVP to me ASAP, but no later than July 25th at 573-659-3409 if you are attending and have guests.

These are the Legislators that I have from June 15:
Legislators if you have family members attending with you, it would be great to get them in our head count for the restaurant.

Rep. Sue Allen
Rep. Ellen Brandom
Rep. Eric Burlison
Rep. Sandy Crawford
Rep. Charles Denison
Rep. Tim Jones
Rep. Shelley Keeney
Rep. Bill Lant
Rep. Cole McNary
Rep. Darrell Pollock
Rep. Shane Schoeller
Rep. Jason Smith
Sen. Ron Richard

The following companies are paid sponsors to date:

Allergan – pending
Ameren -
AstraZeneca -pending
AT & T –
Bryan Cave -
CenturyLink –
Comcast –
Express Scripts -
Peabody Energy -
MO Assn. of Realtors-
MO Cable Telecommunications Assn. –
Reynolds American Inc. -
Sprint – pending
St. Louis Community College -

Please notify me with any changes or omissions. I need to give the restaurant final numbers on July 26. Call with any questions.

Of the list above, Missouri Ethics Commission records posted Saturday document the presence of all except Richard at the conference. Hopefully, Richard would have better use for his time during a period in which his home town of Joplin is still reeling from the May 22 tornado. However, Ethics Commission documents indicate some lobbyists, rather than recording gifts to individual legislators, said the gifts were given to the Missouri House Caucus, the Missouri General Assembly, or the Missouri Senate Caucus. The Scruggs letter lists only one senator, Richard, on the list of those who were scheduled to attend.

The following lobbyists gifts were reported for individual legislators:

-Rep. Darrell Pollock, R-Lebanon, received an $88 meal from Drue Duncan, Pfizer, and a $23.33 meal from Ashley Varner, National Rifle Association.

-Rep. Sandy Crawford, R-Buffalo, an $88 meal from Duncan

-Rep. Charlie Denison, R-Springfield, $88.41 meal from Duncan, and a $20.33 meal form Ms. Varner

-Rep. Bill Lant, R-Joplin- $88.41 meal from Duncan

-Rep. Caleb Jones, R-California- $45 meal from Heath Clarkston, RAI Services; $5, $120.41, and $11.49 meals from Duncan, $5 and $7 meals from Tracy King, Missouri Chamber of Commerce

-Shane Schoeller, R-Springfield- $23.33 meal from Ms. Varner

-Rep. Jason Smith, R-Salem- $39 meal from Doug Galloway, Centurylink; $90 meal from Tracy King, Missouri Chamber of Commerce; and $25.25 meal from Ms. Varner, National Rifle Association

-Rep. Cole McNary, R-Chesterfield- $196 ALEC Golf Tournament outing from Heath Clarkston, RAI Services

-Rep. Shelley Keeney, R-Marble Hill- $36 meal from Doug Galloway, Centurylink

-Rep. Tim Jones, R-Eureka- Jones had a $44 meal with Ms. Varner of the National Rifle Association, but reimbursed her for the cost.

-Rep. Eric Burlison, R-Springfield- $45 meal from Heath Clarkston, RAI Services

-Rep. Sue Allen, R-Town and Country- $80 and $8 meals from Michael Gibbons, Peabody Energy

The Ethics Commission records also show that Duncan, the Pfizer lobbyist, and Ms. Varner, the NRA lobbyist, bought meals for legislators' wives.

Duncan bought meals for Mrs. Denison, Mrs. Pollock, and Mrs. Lant, while Ms. Varner paid for meals for Mrs. Denison, Mrs. Pollock, and Mrs. Schoeller.

Richard and Rep. Ellen Brandom, R-Sikeston, are the only ones named in the SCruggs letter whose presence at the conference is not documented in the Ethics Commission records.

ALEC charges low membership rates for legislators with special interests who are seeking influence with those legislators paying much higher fees. The special interests take care of the legislators' travel and lodging fees through so-called "scholarships," which, in turn, enable them to submit ready-made bills that the legislators claim as their own.

No comments: