I don’t see this culture of corruption in Jefferson City. There’s too many eyes, ears and camera phones to do anything wrong anymore.
Jones is taking over as Speaker from former Rep. Steve Tilley a few months early. The see-no-evil Jones might profit from a serious consideration of Mr. Tilley’s behavior, which earned a few words from the Post-Dispatch in an editorial yesterday on the topic of – you guessed it – ethical lapses:
Less than a month ago, Mr. Tilley, formerly a Republican state representative from Perryville, quit his office so that he could openly begin accepting cash from his former colleagues as a political consultant. Mr. Tilley, though, isn’t content to give election advice from his new Chesterfield-based office.
He’s also going to lobby for corporate clients, following the ethically questionable path established by Republican strategist David Barklage. See, if you can control some access to corporate dollars, help set public policy by writing and lobbying for bills, and direct a cadre of elected representatives by being their chief political adviser, well, let’s just say there’s money to be made.
But as the Post-Dispatch notes, that’s only the half of it:
Were Mr. Tilley simply entering the lobbying revolving door, and following the example set by many lawmakers in both parties before him, that wouldn’t be much of a story. It’s old hat in Missouri, and until a new batch of lawmakers decide to join most other states and Congress and implement a one- or two-year moratorium on lawmakers doing precisely what Mr. Tilley is doing, then Missouri’s ethical free zone is their fault.
On the other hand, if any of the new lawmakers coming into office in January are worried about this revolving door, we suggest they check Mr. Tilley’s campaign finance records, as the Post-Dispatch’s Virginia Young did last week.
Ms. Young found an interesting flow of money from Mr. Tilley’s million-dollar campaign account, which Missouri law allows him to keep as long as he pretends he’s running for future office.
During the recent election cycle, Mr. Tilley gave campaign donations to a number of politicians.
At least three of those politicians, Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder, Rep. Rick Stream, R-Kirkwood, and Sen. Mike Parson, R-Bolivar, turned around and paid Mr. Tilley’s new political consulting firm, Strategic Capitol Consulting, fees for various advice or services.
One doesn’t have to be a cynic to follow the money and see it for what it is. Mr. Tilley has found a way to use his campaign cash to fund the start-up of his new business.
Of course, to Mr. Jones this is probably all hunky-dory since it doesn’t provide any substantive gist for the eyes, ears and camera phones in Jefferson City. However, to those of us who lack that conservative “fire” that Mr. Jones alludes to in the Post-Dispatch article when describing himself and his pursuit of right-wing ideals, it sounds like a money-laundering scheme that would do the Columbian cartel proud.
The Post-Dispatch article tells us that Jones and his family gather regularly for a “four-wheel-drive competition thrugh mud pits and obstacle courses,” dubbed the “Jones Mudfest.” Given Mr. Jones beliefs about what constitutes corruption, it’s likely we’ll soon be having another type of Jones Mudfest in Jefferson City.