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Thursday, October 23, 2003

Cheaters and Blind Referees
Even when citizens get their act together to pass campaign finance reform, there are those skuzzballs who don't want to live by them. So, for instance, in 1994 Missouri voters enacted a ballot question that said nobody was supposed to give more than $300 to a candidate for Governor. Well, today's Saint Louis Post Dispatch reports here that somebody named S.W. Creekmore, Jr has given some $20,000 bucks to the current governor of Missouri. He's cheating big time and getting away with it.

How is this possible? Well, first of all the 8th Circuit Court of appeals through out the law passed by the voters. A weaker law, crafted intentionally by the legislature to derail the citizen initiative then went into effect. That law had much higher limits (now up to $1175), plus other loopholes like including no limits on contributions to parties. So, the courts and lawmakers, who are supposed to be the people's referees, instead weakened the rules.

Missouri's law does not ban corporate contributions, so Creekmore is having each of his corporate subsidiaries give a maximum $1175 contribution. Creekmore is in the nursing home business, and operates under a number of different corporate entities. I did a search on the Missouir Ethics Commission site and was able to locate a number of these contribututions -- go here to take a look.

Missouri's law also does not restrict or ban contributions from outside of the state. So, even though Creekmore lives in Arkansas, he and his corporations can still give to the Missouri Governor's race.

Now, Democratic and Republican campaign consultants think that the best way to deal with cheaters like Creekmore is to just get rid of the rules. That way, nobody would break them. Another approach would be for Missouri citizens to go back to the ballot box to pass tighter rules, as folks in Colorado did in 2002 and ppl in Alaska are doing now. Maybe we'll need to get some new refs as well.

But until then, maybe the rest of us should write Mr. Creekmore a letter and ask him to stop cheating and to give only one contribution. His disclosure records say his address is:

SW CreekMore JR
PO Box 3068
Fort Smith, AR 72913

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