Friday, August 3, 2007
Follow the Money!
The Missouri Ethics Commission Website has some interesting reading for those who follow the intrigues of those who dominate the Raytown political scene. Most recently, Raytown’s most powerful political club, Continue Raytown’s Progress, was fined by the Missouri Ethics Commission for not filing its financial statements on time. On closer examination, timely filing of reports is not the only problem on Continue Raytown's Progress plate. Here is a short run-down recent reports filed by former Mayor Sue Frank's political club: QUARTERLY REPORT – January 7, 2007: Twenty-two cents of income and $150 expenses paid to Belt Financial Services for bookkeeping. 8 DAY BEFORE ELECTION REPORT: $1, 715.00 income. ($250.00 from Dick Smith Ford and $300 each from three employees of Bartlett and West plus a smattering of smaller donors. Bartlett and West is the engineering firm that the city used in its multi-million dollar sanitary sewer improvement project currently going on in Raytown. QUARTERLY REPORT – April 15, 2007: This is the quarterly report that was filed late on April 26, 2007. The Ethics Commission fined Continue Raytown’s Progress for the late report. The report listed $250.05 income for the period - $50 from William Esrey and $200 from former Mayor Sue Frank’s mother, Bessie Frank. Claudette Price becomes the new Treasurer. This leads to speculation as to who really holds the check book in the group. The balance on hand at this report is $2,311.48. QUARTERLY REPORT – July 15, 2007: Expenses mount to $2,055.37. The breakdown on the expenses is interesting. $1,605.37 is paid to former Mayor Sue Frank for reimbursement of supplies. There is no breakdown of supplies in the report. Even though Belt Financial is not serving as the Treasurer, $350.00 is paid to the firm for additional bookkeeping. $100.00 is paid to the Missouri Ethics Commission. The fine was levied against the club for late filing of the April 15th Report. FOLLOW THE MONEY . . . Politics is a cash business. By that we mean that vendors expect to be paid up front for their work in supplying candidates with the tools of the trade. The yard signs, brochures, and other campaign paraphernalia usually taps dry most campaigns by election day. Not so with Continue Raytown’s Progress. Debts are being paid with little documentation three months after the campaign is over. The contributions from Bartlett and West employees, fines from the Missouri Ethics Commission and the “reimbursement” of the former Mayor in the four-digit range for unspecified supplies should be read as a warning to voters in the future. Questionable campaign finance tactics are not new in Missouri. That is why the Missouri Ethics Commission was established. The Missouri Supreme Court has placed a lid on campaign contributions recently. If the games being played by Continue Raytown’s Progress is any indication, it is a sign that we need even tougher ethics laws in Missouri when it comes to local politics.