JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri’s lieutenant governor is the only statewide elected official who has accepted gifts so far this year, Missouri Ethics Commission data shows.
Republican Lt. Gov. Mike Parson from southwestern Missouri’s Bolivar has received meals and gifts worth $2,752 in the six months since he took office in January, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported , citing the commission’s records. That includes $1,350 worth of commemorative coins from Jorgen Schlemeier, a lobbyist who represents trade groups and organizations ranging from the state’s auto dealers to the St. Louis Zoo.
Parson earns a taxpayer-paid salary of $86,400. His predecessor, Republican Peter Kinder, also accepted lobbyist gifts.
A message seeking comment was left Friday by The Associated Press with a spokesman for Parson, a former Polk County sheriff who served in both the state House and Senate.
Republican Gov. Eric Greitens, while successfully campaigning for the state’s top office, called for a prohibition on lobbyist gifts. A proposed ban won quick approval in the House in January but floundered and ultimately fizzled in the Senate. After taking office in January, Greitens issued an executive order barring workers in the state’s executive branch from accepting gifts or meals from lobbyists.
Republican Treasurer Eric Schmitt, Attorney General Josh Hawley and Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft did not accept any freebies during their first six months in office, the commission’s records show. State Auditor Nicole Galloway, a Democrat, also does not accept gifts or meals.
In all, lobbyists dished out nearly $350,000 worth of meals and gifts during the first half of 2017, down from more than $375,000 during the same time period.
Of the 20 lawmakers who accepted the most meals and gifts in 2017, 11 are Republicans and nine are Democrats.