The Star has the fascinating story of what happened when Rep. Doug Ervin (R-Kearney) and former Rep. Brian Baker (R-Belton) asked pointed questions about the receipt of strip club contributions by a campaign committee with strong ties to (former?) House Counsel Don Lograsso, and the prompt actions by former Speaker Rod Jetton to make sure anti-strip club legislation went nowhere.
According to Erving and Baker, Jetton blackballed them:
Ervin and Baker said they initially raised questions about the contribution with Jetton and Lograsso in 2005, shortly after the strip club bill was killed in committee.
“They obviously knew who that (campaign) committee represented,” Baker said.
But when they approached Lograsso, Ervin said he dismissed their concerns. Ervin said Lograsso also told him that the Committee for Honest Campaigns was organized specifically to discreetly funnel donations that could be politically damaging to fellow Republican candidates...
Ervin and Baker said that, following a Star story in 2006 about the donation, they held a tense meeting with Jetton and asked Lograsso to address the situation before the entire Republican caucus, which was worried that adult-entertainment money might find its way into their campaigns...
Baker and Ervin...said they were “blackballed” by the speaker’s office until Jetton left the post in early 2009. Baker was stripped of a committee chairmanship and Ervin said he nearly lost his.
“It was a bad situation,” Baker said. “It was terrible, very uncomfortable from that point on.”
It's not exactly news that the "Committee for Honest Campaigns" was used to funnel strip club money to Republicans who didn't want that cash hanging out of their own g-strings, but it's nice to see further confirmation of that fact.
Two other reactions to the story: First, why would Jetton and Lograsso blackball two of their members over a simple understanding, if they knew they hadn't done anything wrong?
And second, does the growing number of Republican lawmakers willing to dish on Jetton, Lograsso and their conversations with the feds represent a desire to be on the "good guy" side of things (after years of relative silence) now that Jetton has his assault charge, and federal charges regarding the strip club legislation seem entirely possible, if not likely?