Promoted from diaries – Moe Lane
Last week, Missouri’s Democrat Governor Jay Nixon was accused of attempting to buy off his political opponents with the promise of lucrative jobs within his administration. It was a brazen attempt to put a ‘for sale’ sign in the halls of government.
Nixon recognized that one of his legislative priorities was failing, and instead of compromising with the Republican-led legislature, he apparently sent two high-level staffers to the Capitol and to offer freshman representatives government jobs in return for their votes on his bill.
It went down like something out of the Sopranos:
Rep. Anne Zerr, R-St. Charles, and Rep. Chris Molendorp, R-Belton, both said later they were pulled off the floor by Nixon’s deputy chief of staff, Dustin Allison. Zerr and Molendorp, both freshmen, said Allison told them: “The governor likes to reward people who share his views.” Zerr said Allison told her he was “prepared to make a deal right now.”
Nixon is denying the charge (as he always does when confronted with a controversy), but it will be extraordinarily difficult for him to escape responsibility. MissouriNet is now reporting that two staffers—Dustin Allison and Chris Moreno—have been implicated, so it will be difficult for Nixon to claim that the offense was caused by a rouge staffer acting without authorization; instead, it suggests that that this was a coordinated effort directed by higher up in the Nixon administration.
On Thursday, the Missouri Republican Party sent letters to the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, the Missouri Attorney General, the Cole County Prosecutor, and the Missouri Ethics Commission requesting an immediate investigation. The letter is available here.
This is not the first time Nixon, who has only been in office since January, has been accused of strong-arm, underhanded tactics to influence the legislature. In February:
[State Senator Scott Rupp, R-St. Charles] had not decided whether he planned to use any means to further delay a vote, such as a filibuster. “It’s taking on a new level,” Rupp said, as he recounted what he believed had been a terse message to [St. Charles County Executive Steve] Ehlmann delivered by Nixon chief of staff John Watson. “He told (Ehlmann) that St. Charles County will be punished by this, that I will be made an example of,” Rupp said.
This story is expected continue developing this week. For updates, follow the Missouri Republican Party on Twitter.
–Jonathon Prouty is the Communications Director for the Missouri Republican Party