Steve Kraske reports in today's Star about the curious financial arrangement of Speaker Ron Richard's legislative director, Tom Smith. Smith is a "key player" in the assigning of bills to House committees, and also happens to run a business that collected $500k last year from Republican candidates last year:
A top aide to the speaker of the Missouri House runs a political consulting business on the side that generated nearly $500,000 last year, records examined by The Kansas City Star show.
In his public job as legislative director, Tom Smith holds significant influence over the life or death of bills moving through the General Assembly. Critics said his political consulting business raises questions about the potential for a conflict of interest in one of the most powerful offices in state government.
Of course, Smith denies any hint of wrongdoing, and no Republican legislators remember an explicit demand from Smith. “I think it’s absurd that someone could buy 1,000 pieces (of mail) and somehow have a level of influence,” Smith says.
I think it's absurd to think that Smith's clients are only buying 1,000 pieces of mail.Read More »