Saturday, December 08, 2012

Speaker of the House Jones accepts shady, borderline illegal campaign contributions

Speaker of the House Tim Jones, R-Eureka, not only accepts ready-made legislation from ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council), but he also has latched onto them for shady, borderline illegal campaign contributions.

According to IRS rules, ALEC a 501(c)3 group, cannot become involved in politics, but Missouri Ethics Commission documents indicate Jones received $2,673,97 in contributions from the organization during this calendar year.

The contributions included $1,251.58 on September 4, $350 on June 21, and $1,071.39 on January 17.

Jones also picked up a $450 "sponsorship" from ALEC on Feb. 10, according to Ethics Commission records.

ALEC would appear to be getting its money's worth out of Jones since his first news conference as speaker included an echo chamber endorsement of ALEC's anti-teacher, anti-public school sentiment, and a promise to lead an attack on teacher tenure.

The shadowy ALEC, which over the years has provided lazy legislators with cookie-cutter laws ranging from Voter ID legislation to the various anti-public education, anti-federal health care and unnecessary gun legislation sponsored by ALEC member Sen. Jane Cunningham, R-Chesterfield, has been under attack in recent months, primarily because of Voter ID laws and the controversial Stand Your Ground gun legislation, which jumped into the spotlight after the shooting death of Trayvon Martin in Florida.

Earlier this month, the Turner Report noted that the special interests who make up ALEC are not the only ones who have Jones in their hip pocket. I wrote the following:

Missouri Ethics Commission online records show that Jones, who has made public education a target for the 2013 legislative session, needs to brush up on his own education, including the part that talks about avoiding the appearance of impropriety.

During a three-week period between September 28 and October 19, Jones accepted more than $1,700 worth of sports tickets, parking passes, and meals at sporting events. On September 28, a lobbyist for Anheuser-Busch paid for $880 worth of entertainment at Busch Stadium, according to the Ethics Commission documents.

Documents posted this morning on the Ethics Commission website, shows the pattern continuing in October.

AT&T lobbyist Craig Unruh spent $60 for a St. Louis Cardinals ticket for Jones on October 8 and $5 for a meal.

John Bardgett, who always hides just what special interest is being represented by listing his firm, Bardgett and Associates, is down for three freebies- $72.50 for another Cardinals ticket on October 8, the same day Unruh was buying Jones a ticket, $97 for a Cardinals playoff ticket Oct. 18 and the same amount the following day.

In between watching those Cardinals game, Jones apparently took in an MU football game, courtesy of five tickets and parking passes, totaling $390 from Ameren UE lobbyist Matthew Forck.

So far this year, Jones has taken $2,694.34 in lobbyists' gifts, according to the Ethics Commission documents.

Of course, with his high moral character and reputation for integrity, no one could ever believe that Tim Jones could be influenced by a steady flow of freebies from special interests.

No comments: