Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Kraske's big scoop declines to name names

Posted By on Tue, Mar 31, 2009 at 10:44 AM

click to enlarge Could Rod Jetton be known as 'lawmaker' to Star readers?
  • Could Rod Jetton be known as 'lawmaker' to Star readers?
Basketball players pound their chest after a powerful dunk. The daily newspaper equivalent of the pec slap is the copyright symbol.

"©" made an appearance on the front page of Sunday's Kansas City Star. The Steve Kraske-written story said the FBI is investigating Missouri lawmakers for trading favors for campaign donations.

Kraske's sources are solid. Three lawmakers told The Star's chief political writer they had spoken with agents.

But Kraske, for some reason, declines to name possible targets of the investigation. A follow-up in this morning's paper (co-written by Jason Noble) even seems to go out of its way to conceal the identity of a lawmaker "running political consulting businesses while in office with lawmakers as clients."

Which leaves us to wonder whether he's talking about former Speaker of the House Rod Jetton.

Jetton came under criticism in 2006 when it was revealed that he dispensed political advice for pay at the same time he was the running the House of Representatives. Sen. Jason Crowell, a fellow southeast Missouri Republican, paid Jetton $33,000 for campaign consulting, an arrangement that prompted "serious concerns" at the Missouri Ethics Commission.

The ethics commission ultimately concluded that no laws had been broken. Still, Jetton's activity grossed out many of his colleagues. Last year, Rep. Beth Low, a Kansas City Democrat, accused Jetton of giving preferential treatment to Rep. Bob Onder, a Jetton client. Lieutenant Gov. Peter Kinder and other Republicans also criticized Jetton's consulting work. (Term limits ended Jetton's legislative career.)

Brian Yates, a Lee's Summit Republican, introduced a bill in this year's session that would limit future Jettons from acting like such skeezheads.

As for The Star, sports fans can look forward to reading about an unnamed (though kingly!) baseball club set to take the field at a stadium near the Blue Ridge Cutoff.

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