New federal complaint requests investigation into Missouri Senator Ron Richard over TAMKO campaign contributions

Temperature’s rising in Ron Richard’s kitchen.

The Missouri Senate leader has been dogged by accusations of pay-for-play politics for months now. As we reported in February, Richard cashed a $100,000 check from the CEO of TAMKO Building Products six days after introducing legislation that would effectively derail a class-action lawsuit against TAMKO. Missouri Rep. Mark Ellebracht (D-Liberty) later wrote in a letter to Richard that the legislation appears to be a “textbook example of pay-to-play politics.” He also called Richard a “crook” on KCUR’s Statehouse Blend podcast.

Even fellow Republicans are uncomfortable with the optics. Ryan Silvey, a senator representing KC’s Northland, suggested a few weeks ago that an investigation of Richard seemed like a reasonable thing to do. 

Today, the Campaign for Accountability, a nonprofit watchdog, filed a complaint with the U.S. Attorney in Western Missouri requesting an investigation into Richard’s conduct. 

“Sen. Richard can’t expect anyone to believe it’s a coincidence that he introduced a bill that could save TAMKO millions and received $100,000 from the company’s CEO just a few days later,” says Campaign for Accountability executive director Dan Stevens in a release. “This situation begs for a grand jury investigation; it’s a crime for elected officials to accept benefits in exchange for official action.”

Stevens adds: “Missouri residents are on the brink of losing a strong consumer protection law because a businessman who has gotten rich by engaging in exactly the sorts of practices prohibited by the law can now pay off a state senator to get the law killed. It is this sort of cynical pay-to-play activity that undermines Americans’ faith in government.”

Read the full complaint here

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