Saturday, September 16, 2006

Dempsey’s Abramoff?

By Phyllis Schaltenbrand

Pictured in a First Capitol News photo by Tony Brockmeyer, is Thomas Smith of 320 Monroe Street in St. Charles. Smith is the aide to State Representative Tom Dempsey (R) 18th District and is the treasurer of more than 10 legislative committees that are being used to circumvent Missouri election donation laws. Smith controls several million dollars in contributions to the committees which are registered to his home at 320 Monroe Street.

In addition to drawing a salary from the state, Smith has earned thousands of dollars running these committees, a job that is often a volunteer position. After the First Capitol News first broke the story about apparent unethical campaign financing that is run out of 320 Monroe Street, Dempsey ironically began claiming that election finance reform will be a priority in his reelection bid.
Councilman Joe Koester is running for State Representative in the 18th District and has expressed concern about the wide-reaching influence of corporate dollars and special interest legislation that may be tied to such large contributions.

Smith’s position on the St. Charles City Park Board expired a year ago and when Mayor York brought his name forward for reappointment, it was rejected by the Council. However, Smith has refused to step down and claims to be the current vice president of the board. When the First Capitol News entered a park board meeting in progress, Smith, upon seeing the photographer, covered his face for the duration of the meeting including when speaking to the board in an apparent attempt to prevent his photo from being taken (See additional Smith photo on page 9). ttt