Ethics continues to have little importance in state government

Ethics in our state government is, for all practical purposes, at an all-time low. Eric Greitens, now governor of Missouri, said explicitly in his campaign that he would clean-up Jefferson City politics and implement a rigid ethics standard for all state government employees and offices.

Yet it is this same Eric Greitens who has set up a secret fund right down the street from the Capitol building that accepts secret donations from wealthy contributors and doesn’t have to account for a penny of it. In addition this same Eric Greitens takes trips to Washington, D.C., aboard a private airplane to meet with President Donald Trump and doesn’t account for any of these trips or whose airplane he travels aboard.

And this filthy practice doesn’t stop with the governor’s office. Just recently, the President Pro Tem of the Missouri Senate, Ron Richard, accepted a $100,000 donation from Joplin billionaire David Humphreys after Richard pre-filed a bill in December that would make major changes in the Missouri Consumer Protection law that would make it more difficult for consumers to sue companies. What is particularly ironic about this issue is that Richard is the state senator who represents the Joplin area. What else is ironic is that Humphreys was the main contributor to Greitens’ gubernatorial campaign.  

Now Richard’s acceptance of Humphreys’ gift is clearly, in most cases, a “pay to play issue” – trading money for legislative action.

When asked if he was going to do anything about this issue, Attorney General Josh Hawley said: “Now my office does not have criminal jurisdiction over pay to play allegations, and so those are, the jurisdiction lies with the local prosecutor – in this case Cole County prosecutor – or the United States Attorney.”

And the dirt continues to pile up – David Humphreys also made a $6.5 million campaign contribution to Josh Hawley in his efforts to win the state attorney general’s office. And a week before campaign contribution limits kicked in, Humphreys made another $1 million donation to Hawley’s campaign – $7.5 million altogether to ensure that Hawley doesn’t go after Humphreys’ agenda. In effect, another “pay to play” issue.

Now if one reads Hawley’s campaign page, he promises that he will end “pay to play” activities as attorney general and right the course on these kinds of issues. It’s fairly obvious that he means the appearance of it – not the actual practice of it or using the law to end the behavior.  

Crooked politics continues to be awash in Jefferson City – in the governor’s office, in the attorney general’s office and in the office of the Senate President Pro Tem – and who knows where else.

Gosh, wouldn’t it be nice if the voters of the state would wake up to all this?

Marvin Sands

Independence

 

More patrols needed in high-crime areas

I am a Boy Scout in Troop 347, and I am working on the Communication Merit Badge.

I think in high-crime-rate areas police should be there more instead of patrolling in areas that barely have any crime. And for their protection they should have at least two officers in that car while they are patrolling the high-crime-rate area. I think by doing this, it will lower the crime in that area and stop most of what is happening in that area.

Chase Blatt

Independence