A comedy of errors ramped up this week in Jefferson City, where Gov. Eric Greitens and the GOP-controlled General Assembly are stumbling toward adjournment May 12. Maybe.
On Tuesday, Republican Sen. Ryan Silvey of Kansas City tore into Senate President Pro Tem Ron Richard in an open letter. It’s a great read, attacking Richard partly for his petty actions in leaving Silvey off a budget conference committee.
My favorite line: “I and many others are comforted by the fact that you only have one year left to play these political games and a new Missouri is on the horizon.”
On Wednesday, House and Senate members are supposed to work on what the final, annual budget will look like before trying to get it to Greitens by Friday as mandated by law.
Ah, but this effort has taken several detours, partly linked to the hypocritical behavior of Greitens when it comes to ethics and the shady behavior of Richard.
Greitens keeps telling everyone he has disclosed everything about the dark money from contributors to his 2016 campaign and inauguration (he hasn’t) and essentially doesn’t control the dark-money funded A New Missouri, set up to promote his agenda (my bet is he does).
A hearing was held Tuesday on trying to force some needed disclosure of contributors to dark money funds such as the ones employed on behalf of Greitens. But the effort, promoted by Sen. Rob Schaaf — who’s been attacked by A New Missouri — went nowhere, as expected.
Richard is in the ethical spotlight because he took a $100,000 campaign contribution from a Joplin businessman six days after he filed a bill that could help David Humphreys while weakening Missouri’s consumer protection law.
Silvey also talked about that case, going heavy on implying Richard did something wrong: “It’s not for me to determine motive. It’s not for me to determine if there was a quid pro quo.”
If Missouri lawmakers keep fighting among themselves and can’t pass a budget soon, a special session would be required.
That would be super embarrassing for Greitens, Richard and other top Republican officials, given their control of all three levels of Missouri government.
A special session also would be an unneeded burden on Missouri taxpayers. And dark money wouldn’t help pay for it.