Thursday, March 19, 2009

CCP Calls For Ethics for All

P.O. Box 10462
Kansas City, Missouri 64171

For immediate release:
March 18, 2009
CONTACT: Pat McInerney
(816) 983-8364

CCP Calls For Uniform Application of Jackson County Ethics Code

The Committee for County Progress, Jackson County's oldest political organization, today called on the Jackson County Legislature - and all Jackson County elected officials - to make themselves subject to the Jackson County Ethics Code enacted earlier this year by County Executive Mike Sanders. Following enactment of the code by Sanders, the legislature passed the code as an ordinance but exempted themselves from its provisions. By executive order, the code currently applies only to the County Executive.

"It's only right that every elected official should be bound by the new ethics code," said CCP President Pat McInerney. "Because they set the ethical tone for the county, the idea that there is one set of rules for elected officials and another for everyone else really undermines the idea of having an ethics code at all. The new Ethics Commission should immediately review the Ethics Code and recommend whether it will apply across the board or just to some. The code may need other improvements, but exempting the people elected to represent us is not the way to start."

McInerney said he expected the legislature to abide by the code and predicted that, once resolved, the ethics code issue would not be a campaign issue in 2010. CCP has been involved in previous Jackson County charter issues - urging and passing a measure reducing the number of legislators from 15 to 9 in 1985 - and has been a voice for progressive and open government since its inception in 1964.

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Anonymous said...

Do I understand this right that the only elected person this code applies to is Sanders? Doesn't an executive order by him bind the other electeds?

Anonymous said...

An executive order only can bind the executive and not other elected officials. So, the Code only applies to Mike. The others could also opt into the code, but have chosen not to so far.

Anonymous said...

Just on "C" shy of the good ole "CCCP", right. Just what took you folks so long to join this issue?

A bunch of insiders with little influence, until now, why?

Sanders did not make himself subject to the code anymore than the Legislators. Additionally he is more culpable because he knew what they were doing and then participated in the cover up.

Anonymous said...

According to the executive order, he made it applicable to himself, Phil.

craig said...

McInerny said;
"once resolved, the ethics code issue would not be a campaign issue in 2010"

WHY NOT!!!!!
If this isn't a campaign issue, then the CCP is nothing but a shill organization for the corrupt incumbents of the Jackson County Legislature.
If the CCP doesn't encourage other qualified Democrats to try to unseat these twits, then they lose what little relevence that they currently have.

Tiger C said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

FYI, the AP (a solid news outlet) is reporting that Dem. Minority leader Paul Levota is under investigation by the FBI for the "pay for play" corruption investigation going on in Jeff City. This could get REAL ugly for the dems - and needless to say Levota.

House Minority leader denies accusations of bribes
Tuesday, March 31, 2009 | 9:12 p.m. CDT
BY Emily Coleman
JEFFERSON CITY – A report by The Associated Press naming the House Democratic leader as the a subject of FBI questioning prompted a hasty closed-door caucus of House Democrats Tuesday.

Democratic Leader Rep. Paul LeVota, D-Jackson County, told reporters afterward that he told his caucus he knew nothing of any FBI investigation involving the legislature.

On Sunday, the Kansas City Star cited unnamed legislators as saying the FBI had questioned them about "pay for play" schemes in the legislature. On Tuesday, The Associated Press cited two unnamed legislators as saying they were questioned about LeVota and linkages between campaign contributions and committee assignment.

The caucus was held just a few hours after The AP story broke.

"I told the caucus that the AP reporter came in, mentioned that two lawmakers mentioned my name to the FBI," LeVota said. "I told the caucus what I told the AP reporter that I don't know anything about the FBI, never talked to the FBI, never been a target of the FBI."

He denied the accusations and said he thinks caucus members are behind the accusation.

"I think that there are disgruntled members of the caucus who are fabricating things against me," LeVota said. "...either committee assignments or anything else. It could be a number of things. When you're minority leader, you've got to make some decisions that not everybody's happy with," LeVota said.

Ted Wedel, chief of staff to the office of the Minority Leader, refused to comment on the matter.

The Jackson County Democrat said no vote was taken during the caucus meeting.

A few lobbyists and legislators said they would not be surprised if there was a corruption investigation because of activities between lobbyists and a few legislators in the past couple of years.

Rep. Brian Yates, R-Jackson County, said that he is not surprised by the news.

"In the previous administration of our speaker, I believe there was some ethically challenged things going on, but I don't have any evidence of an actual crime being committed," said Yates.

At the time, Rep. Rod Jetton had run a political consulting company at the same time he had been House Speaker. He accepted consulting payments from legislators whose bills were assigned to committee by Jetton

Anonymous said...

Here's the text of the actual AP article on Levota and the FBI's ongoing investigation of him. Look's like Paul has had his hand in the old cookie jar down in Jeff City:

Sources: FBI probing Mo. pay-for-play allegations
By DAVID A. LIEB – 4 hours ago

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — The FBI is questioning Missouri lawmakers about allegations that legislative leaders demanded campaign contributions in exchange for prestigious committee posts, legislative sources told The Associated Press on Tuesday.

Two lawmakers said they specifically were asked about House Minority Leader Paul LeVota, a Democrat from Independence. Both spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the ongoing probe and because they didn't want colleagues to know they had spoken with federal investigators.

In an interview with the AP, LeVota said he has not been contacted by the FBI. He denied any wrongdoing and suggested the accusations stem from a disgruntled political rival.

The Kansas City Star first reported Sunday, citing anonymous sources, that the FBI is investigating alleged pay-for-play scenarios at the Missouri Capitol.

Bridget Patton, a spokesman for the FBI office in Kansas City whose jurisdiction includes Jefferson City, said Tuesday that she could neither confirm nor deny a public corruption investigation at the Missouri Capitol.

The investigation into alleged political favors dates at least to 2008, when House Speaker Rod Jetton, R-Marble Hill, was in charge of the chamber. Jetton, who did not seek re-election last year because of term limits, said he had not been contacted by the FBI.

One of the lawmakers who spoke on condition of anonymity told the AP he had been contacted by the FBI multiple times in 2008 and 2009 with questions about pay-for-play scenarios in the Capitol, including whether House committee assignments were offered in exchange for lawmakers contributing money to campaign committees. The lawmaker said the FBI's questions focused on LeVota and others in legislative leadership positions.

Another lawmaker told the AP about an interview with the FBI that occurred several weeks ago in the Capitol. That lawmaker also said the FBI asked specifically about whether LeVota had made committee assignments contingent upon lawmakers contributing money to Democratic campaign committees.

The lawmaker also said the FBI asked about an e-mail sent last year by LeVota on the letterhead of the Missouri House Democratic Campaign Committee.

The Sept. 22 letter, obtained by the AP, asks for donations of between $50 and $250 to help Democratic candidates. But instead of listing the address for the committee, which helps all Democratic House candidates, the bottom of the letter directed donations to LeVota's personal campaign committee in Independence.

LeVota told the AP that he "never asked anyone to give an amount for a committee spot whatsoever."

He said his personal campaign address was listed because it was sent under his mass e-mail account.

"Hindsight tells me I should have took it off for that request," said LeVota, who later added: "It was my intent to try to raise money for the HDCC."

LeVota's campaign committee contributed $35,000 for the 2008 elections to the House Democratic Campaign Committee, according to campaign finance reports filed with the Missouri Ethics Commission.

LeVota said he believed the FBI's apparent questions were prompted by a "political rival who's trying to throw me under the bus."

Copyright © 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.