The Commons is a weblog for concerned citizens of southeast Iowa and their friends around the world. It was created to encourage grassroots networking and to share information and ideas which have either been suppressed or drowned out in the mainstream media.

"But if the cause be not good, the king himself hath a heavy reckoning to make, when all those legs and arms and heads, chopped off in battle, shall join together at the latter day and cry all 'We died at such a place;' some swearing, some crying for a surgeon, some upon their wives left poor behind them, some upon the debts they owe, some upon their children rawly left. I am afeard there are few die well that die in a battle; for how can they charitably dispose of any thing, when blood is their argument? Now, if these men do not die well, it will be a black matter for the king that led them to it; whom to disobey were against all proportion of subjection." (Henry V, Act V, Scene 4)

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Blunt Scrambling to Avoid Fate of Bob Taft; Changes His Ethics Reports a Third Time in Last Ditch Attempt to Avoid Justice

Blunt Scrambling to Avoid Fate of Bob Taft; Changes His Ethics Reports a Third Time in Last Ditch Attempt to Avoid Justice

By Timahoe
Created 08/24/2005 - 11:17pm

After watching GOP Governor Bob Taft plead guilty to ethics charges last week, Matt Blunt is scrambling to cover his own lawbreaking tracks.

Readers of Fired Up Missouri will recall that ethics charges against Blunt and his Highway Commissioner, Mike Kehoe, have been referred to the Attorney General for the filing of an enforcement action. The Missouri Ethics Commission found probable cause to believe that Blunt accepted and did not report an illegal in-kind contribution from Kehoe. The probable cause finding centered on Blunt’s extensive use of Kehoe’s tour bus during the 2004 campaign. In addition, the in-kind contribution of the bus greatly exceeded the $1,200 limit on campaign contributions. The tour bus use has been independently valued at over $20,000.

On April 15th, the day the ethics charges were initially filed, Blunt made his first attempt to amend his ethics reports to account for the tour bus--- he reported that he had paid $1 for the bus.

On July 15th, Blunt filed a second ethics amendment--- he reported a $6,178.80 payment to Kehoe. The payment was far less than the $20,000 fair market value for the tour bus.

Unimpressed by the "wait until I get caught before paying too little" approach of Blunt, the Ethics Commission referred his case to the Attorney General for enforcement on July 25th.

Since that time, Blunt has watched Ohio GOP Governor Bob Taft plead no-contest to charges he took a few hundred dollars in golf outings without reporting them. The case has drawn national attention and speculation about Taft's potential impeachment.

And so, just yesterday, Blunt quietly amended his ethics reports for a third time and made another $6,692.18 payment to Kehoe.

Law enforcement should treat Blunt's third amendment as the admission of guilt that it is and hold him accountable for his lawbreaking.

As a collective refresher, here is the sad chronology of this entire case:

* Fall 2004: Blunt racks up nearly 8,000 miles traveling the state on a specially painted tour bus owned by Kehoe.

* April 13, 2005: Blunt closes the books on his 2004 Governor’s Race Campaign Committee and formally terminates its existence [1] with the Missouri Ethics Commission. He never pays for the use of the Kehoe bus.

* April 14, 2005: Blunt appoints Mike Kehoe to the powerful Missouri Highway Commission;

* April 15, 2005: The Missouri Democratic Party files a formal ethics charge against Blunt and Kehoe. Blunt Spokesperson Spence Jackson declares that the MDP “is in a desperate search for contrived issues and will, of course, lose this stupid complaint”.

* April 15, 2005: At 2:34 PM, Blunt hurriedly files a report “un-terminating” his 2004 Committee and amends his report to show that he paid Kehoe $1 for the use of the charter bus.

* April 16, 2005: GOP Senator John Cauthorn tells the Hannibal paper that he believe the Kehoe appointment was a “political payback” by Blunt.

* May 4, 2005: Democratic Senators confront Kehoe on the illegal contribution at his Highway Commission confirmation hearing.

* July 15, 2005: In an apparent effort to payback the illegal contribution before the Ethics Commission acts, Blunt amends his reports a second time and reports a $6,158.70 payment to Kehoe for the bus. Inexplicably, Blunt also reports a $1,203.30 expenditure for bus fuel to Jefferson City Oil Company--- a second example of trying to repay a previously unreported illegal in-kind contribution. [2] Blunt again formally terminates his committee.

* July 25, 2005: The Missouri Ethics Commission finds probable cause to believe that Blunt and Kehoe broke the law; it refers the case to the Attorney General for the filing of a formal enforcement action.

* August 23, 2005: Desperate to avoid the fate of his collegue Bob Taft, Blunt “un-terminates” his committee again and amends his reports for a third time to show an additional $6,692.18 payment to Kehoe for the tour bus; the payment is labeled “rental vehicle” [3]. Blunt terminates his 2004 campaign committee for the third time. [4]

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