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New Report Exposes ALEC's Influence in Missouri and Kansas

Progress Missouri, the Center for Media and Democracy, Common Cause and Missouri Jobs With Justice Voter Action today released new research highlighting the American Legislative Exchange Council’s (ALEC) ongoing influence in the Kansas and Missouri State Capitols.

Shifting stories from Speaker Jones on Missouri Freedom Alliance, LLC

In interviews with the Kansas City Star, St. Louis Post-Dispatch and KCMO Talk Radio, Speaker Tim Jones has given seemingly contradictory explanations for what Missouri Freedom Alliance, LLC is all about and when it was active.  

  1. On KCMO, the Speaker of the House gave the following excuse for his contradictory statements about the LLC’s work: "I had been speaking with someone who does do that type of work and it was the thing on my mind and I blurted it out.”
  2. Jones told The Star that the LLC was for “legal matters that the law firm he works for [DosterUllom, LLC] wasn’t able to handle.” But he told KCMO “that business deals directly with my primary, private legal practice.”

  3. Jones told KCMO that the LLC has “been inactive since 2009… it hasn’t been utilized in four years.”  But he told the Star he received “a ‘few hundred dollars” in 2010,” and told the Missouri Ethics Commission he received more than $1,000 from the LLC in 2012.  

This is Tim Jones' explanation for why he gave The Star bogus information

Speaker Tim Jones has a side business, Missouri Freedom Alliance, LLC. What does it do?  He isn't giving straight answers. 

Here's what the Kansas City Star reported this weekend

When first asked about the limited liability corporation — which he founded his first year in the legislature — the state’s most powerful lawmaker said in two separate phone conversations that he made a small amount of money over the years doing legal consulting on the legislative process.
    
“I provide basic, rudimentary, Legislature 101 advice,” Jones said. “I’m not representing anyone. I’m not advocating for anything. I generally don’t even know who these people” 
— referring to who his lawyer clients might represent — “are or what their issue is. And it’s basic ‘how a bill becomes a law’ type stuff.”
     
Later, Jones said he misspoke and that Missouri Freedom Alliance had nothing to do with legislative issues. Rather, he said, the work was limited to consulting on private legal matters that the law firm he works for wasn’t able to handle.
    
Over the last three years, he said, there were only two instances where he received payment. He says he earned a “few hundred dollars” in 2010, and nothing from the company this year.

Weird, right?

It gets weirder. Here's how the Speaker explained his alleged misstatement in an interview with conservative KCMO radio personality Greg Knapp:

"I had been speaking with someone who does do that type of work and it was the thing on my mind and I blurted it out...I was caught off guard, I blurted out a wrong answer."

Dem Leaders Call on Speaker to 'Clear the Air' on Side Deals

<p><a href="http://www.scribd.com/doc/166810228/Letter-from-Reps-Hummel-and-McCann-B..." target="_blank">House Minority Leader Jake Hummel and </a><a href="http://www.scribd.com/doc/166810228/Letter-from-Reps-Hummel-and-McCann-B..." target="_blank">Assistant House Minority Leader Gail McCann Beatty</a>: "Although you initially told The Star that Missouri Freedom Alliance performs legal consulting on the legislative process, you later retracted that statement and said the firm only does legal work unrelated to legislative or governmental matters. That may be true, but your shifting explanation coupled with your refusal to divulge your clients or any information regarding the work performed makes it difficult for Missourians to take you at your word."</p>

Sinquefield Group a "Six Figure" Sponsor of ALEC Conference

Rex Sinquefield's campaign and lobbying shop is now directly underwriting the ALEC agenda. As reported by the Associated Press:

Data Dump: Missouri Legislators' Personal Financial Disclosure Docs

We got frustrated with the time and expense required to go through the Missouri Ethics Commission's request process on ethics disclosure documents -- so we're collecting digital versions and putting them online for public review here

Bookmark the link www.progressmissouri.org/pfd-dump for future reference. 

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