Saturday, November 04, 2006

Ethics Complaint Charges Dempsey Campaign Misappropriated State Funds

By Tony Brockmeyer

An ethics complaint was recently filed against State Representative Tom Dempsey, his campaign committee and state employee Thomas Smith, Jr. of St. Charles who is Dempsey’s Legislative Director. It raises serious allegations that Tom Smith was being paid by the State of Missouri at the time he was working on the reelection campaign of Representative Dempsey.

The complaint follows a Sunshine Law request made by the Executive Director of the Missouri Democratic Party in September, requesting all public records containing proof of hours worked by Thomas W. Smith from January 1 to August 31, 2006. The records received from the Chief Clerk of the Missouri House of Representatives show that Smith receives approximately $50,000 per year as “Legislative Director”. His time sheets are all approved and signed by Representative Dempsey.

The ethics complaint alleges that Thomas Smith was working for Dempsey’s reelection since the end of the Legislative Session in May of this year. There are no records indicating that Smith spent any time working in Jefferson City since May and yet he was paid the same salary each month as if he were. The complaint says that the Dempsey campaign failed to list Thomas Smith’s time working for the campaign as a contribution to the campaigns required under Section 130.031.

Smith has been the subject of an ongoing series of investigative reports by the First Capitol News. Records indicate that he handled millions of dollars through dozens of committees registered at his home on Monroe Street. His name appears prominently as Treasurer for these committees on mailers attacking various Democratic candidates.

Smith also ran three unlicensed businesses from the same address including one called Survey St. Louis. These businesses were paid tens of thousands of dollars from various campaign committees during the same period Smith was allegedly working for the State of Missouri.

The Ethics Commission complaint was filed by Carol Diller of St. Charles. Mo. Diller told the First capitol News, “I don’t consider myself a politically active person but since I moved to St. Charles six or seven years ago I noticed certain things that have been happening in the City that have given me reason to be concerned. Primarily, the thing that really shocked me was when Mr. Dempsey put forward a bill in Jefferson City involving the City of St. Charles requiring us to provide sewer the St. Andrews development outside the city limits of St. Charles. Then I thought, nobody is paying attention. then I found out from reading in the First Capitol News that Tom Dempsey’s aide was operating several businesses and committees from a house on Monroe collecting money and disseminating it to candidates in attempts to apparently hide it. I checked with the Democratic State Committee and they informed me that Tom Smith, Jr. an employee of the State of Missouri is working apparently actively working for the campaign of Tom Dempsey while being paid as a state employee.”

Asked to comment on the most recent allegations, Councilman Joe Koester, who is challenging Dempsey in the November 7th election said, “I don’t see how Tom Smith could have been wearing all these hats, running surveys, doing mass mailings for dozens of candidates, organizing fundraisers, putting up signs and managing millions of dollars of special interest campaign contributions being laundered through dozens of committees and still have been working full-time for the State of Missouri.”

“Tom Dempsey is the one who signed off each pay period that Tom Smith was working for the State of Missouri taxpayers. If he can’t prove that Tom Smith was engaged full-time on public business, then it is a case of Tom Dempsey and Tom Smith conspiring to defraud the taxpayers. This deserves a full investigation by the Ethics Committee, Missouri Attorney General and local prosecutors here and in Cole County.”