Missouri state Rep. Curt Dougherty called for an investigation into what he called "political fixes" arranged by Jackson County Legislator Dennis Waits' law office earlier this morning.
Dougherty, who is running for Waits' seat on the county legislature, claimed that Waits' ability to vote on budget for the county's courts and attorneys has allowed him to put clients through the system with barely a slap on the wrist, including at least one convicted child molester.
"On the one hand, Mr. Waits votes on the county budget that funds the sheriff's department, prosecutor's office and circuit courts, integral parts of the justice system here in Jackson County," Dougherty said, reading a prepared statement. "As one of only two attorneys on the county legislature, his influence on funding these departments is of great interest to the recipients of said funding.
"On the other hand, as a defense lawyer, Mr. Waits also represents criminals in the same courts that he funds as a legislator. His personal and political relationships with some prosecutors and judges are documented in his campaign financial disclosures filed with the Missouri Ethics Commission."
Dougherty called out a number of connections between Waits and the legal community during his speech, including that Waits' daughter, Paige Waits, worked for Judge Jeffrey Bushur, and that Ted Hunt, head of the prosecutor's office Sex Crimes and Child Abuse Unit is listed as a campaign contributor for Waits. Dougherty claimed these connections helped "political fixes" for Waits' clients, most notably Donald Stevenson.
In May, Stevenson received probation after pleading guilty to child molestation charges in Bashur's courtroom.
Waits has served on the Jackson County Legislature since 1986. He did not return calls seeking comment.