Thursday, January 22, 2015

Ron Richard's wife accepts $579 in gifts from lobbyists

It's a who's who of special interests.

The Gateway Group, Missouri Association of Insurance Agents, Missouri Automobile Dealers Association, Missouri Council of School Administrators, Missouri Pharmacy Association, and the anti-public school, anti-teacher organization Students First.

All have lobbyists who have given gifts to Sen. Ron Richard, R-Joplin.

All have lobbyists who have given gifts to Patty Richard, the senator's wife.

Disclosure forms filed with the Missouri Ethics Association show that Mrs. Richard, the wife of the second most powerful man in the Missouri Senate, has received $579.10 in gifts from lobbyists during the first 11 months of 2014.

That amount is more than the amount of lobbyists'g ifts received by 11 senators, according to the Ethics Commission documents.

Gateway Group lobbyist David Michael Jackson, who is also a lobbyist for retired billionaire Rex Sinquefield, provided Mrs. Richard with $120 worth of St. Louis Cardinals tickets on September 18.

The rest of the gifts were all meals, including $187.40 from Missouri Association of Insurance Agents lobbyist Mark Bruns on September 17 and $75.50 from Students First lobbyist Christopher Crancer on February 22.

All of the meals and the Cardinals game tickets were provided to both the senator and his wife with each receiving the amounts listed above.

During the first 11 months of the year, Ron Richard has received $1,887.81 in lobbyists' gifts, which places him fourth among the 34 senators.

Richard was one of the first legislators this year to file an ethics bill. According to its description, SB 11 would do the following:

SB 11 - This act bars members of the General Assembly and candidates for such office to act as paid political consultants for a candidate for state representative or state senator, or the candidate committee of such candidate or officeholder.
A two year cooling off period is imposed for members of the General Assembly before they may become lobbyists.

The act modifies the definition of "elected local government official lobbyist" to include individuals who are employed specifically for the purpose of attempting to influence an action by an elected school district official.

The act modifies the definition of "public official" to include any superintendent of a school district or school board members.

The act stipulates that lobbyists are required to report all entities they represent to the third degree even if they are not directly compensated by such entities.

The act specifies that lobbyist are required to report expenditures made on behalf of all public officials as that term is defined in statute.

The act modifies the exceptions to "expenditures" to include any item, service or thing of value transferred to any person within the third degree of affinity of the transferor which is unrelated to any activity of the transferor as a lobbyist.

Expenditures are only allowed to be reported as a group for all senators, all representatives, and caucuses when attendees are invited at least 48 hours in advance. Staff and employees of the General Assembly may be included as part of these groups. Such reporting can no longer be made for joint and standing committees.

Under current law, lobbyist expenditures for out of state travel and lodging for members of the General Assembly must be approved by the administration committees in the House and Senate. This act bars such expenditures and also bars expenditures for food, beverage and entertainment when it occurs outside of the state.


Anonymous said...

I appreciate holding everyone accountable, but I am sorry - this is a non-issue. It might be news if the amounts were greater, but I probably buy dinners for friends worth more than that in a year's worth of entertaining.

Anonymous said...

It has to better than polishing bowling balls.

Anonymous said...

gotta wonder...non issue commenter....At what value does it become an issue? $500? $1,000? $10,000? This is what was reported..What might be under the table? ...This is a wife..not the elected official...Almost like tripling the amount when given to spouse...Lobbyist have ruined our government...