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It has certainly been a banner weekend for the political writers at the Kansas City Star.

First Dave Helling breathlessly strained credulity with his overt and unintentionally funny attempt to promote a distraction over Claire McCaskill’s recent introduction of a bill about CEO compensation limits for TARP beneficiaries (and caught grief from Blue Girl for “gumming Claire McCaskill’s ankles”). Do go to Helling’s post and read the comments.

Then this morning I opened the Sunday paper and happened to read the stenographer‘s fawning over Missouri House Speaker Ron Richard (r). Oh great.

…A couple of weeks before, he ended a conversation by giving me his cell phone number…

Ain’t that a sweet thing to put in an article.

But not this:

Ooh! Look what I found at the Missouri Ethics Commission, part 3

…ORDER

It is the order of the Commission that Respondents shall not be required to return the contributions of $1,275.00 or less received between January 1, 2007 and July 19, 2007 which would, but for the prospective application of Trout in this case, be required to be returned to contributors or paid as fees under Section 130.032.7, RSMo.

It is further the order of the Commission that if the General Assembly does not pass a repeal of or an increase in the contribution limits in Section 130.032, RSMo by the end of this session or if the Governor vetoes such a bill, then the Executive Director shall provide written notice to Respondents of the contributions of more than $1,275.00 received between January 1, 2007 and July 19,2007, as listed in paragraph 10 of the Findings of Fact, which were in excess of the retroactively applied limits, and the excess amounts of those contributions would then have to be returned to those contributors within ten business days after receipt of that notice or else the Respondents shall pay to the Commission for each such contribution a surcharge and fee of $1,000 plus the amount equal to that contribution.

It is further the order of the Commission, however, that if Ron Richard has an opponent in either the primary or general election in 2008, then unless Respondents choose to return the amounts of the excess contributions referenced in the previous paragraph, the Commission will convene another hearing in this case and allow any other candidate or candidates for the same office to intervene and present evidence and argument on how to deal with level-playing-field issues as set out in the Trout decision.

SO ORDERED this 14th day of March 2008.

MISSOURI ETHICS COMMISSION

By: s/

Warren Nieburg, Chairperson

Or this:

So much for “post partisan” cooperation in Jefferson City

…In a late-night meeting between Republican and Democratic senior staff, Speaker Ron Richard’s office characterized Rep. Jason Kander (D-Kansas City), an attorney and Afghanistan veteran, as a “political problem” for the Republicans. Accordingly, the Speaker took the extraordinary step of blocking Kander’s appointment to the powerful professional licensing and registration committee…

People who wield political power have proved to be, interestingly enough, quite adept at getting and protecting it. You don’t become the republican Speaker of the Missouri House because people like you, you get there because people owe you and they’re very afraid of the political consequences if they don’t pay up.

So the Speaker isn’t a thug? How nice. That’s probably an improvement. But the stenographer’s column reads like it’s all sweetness and light in Jefferson City. That is definitely not the case.

The fawning. It’s the fawning:

…He’s unusually accessible to lawmakers and reporters alike, and he’s planning breakfast sessions to keep correspondents up to speed….

I wonder if I’ll get an invitation.