The chairman of the Missouri Republican Party told reporters Monday that nothing would come from an investigation into Senate President Pro Tem Ron Richard’s campaign contributions.
Richard has faced questions about a $100,000 donation from Joplin businessman David Humphreys made six days after Richard, a Joplin Republican, pre-filed a bill in December that would make major changes to Missouri’s consumer protection law that would make it more difficult for customers to sue companies.
The Washington, D.C.-based Campaign for Accountability has filed a complaint with the U.S. Attorney’s office in Missouri, requesting an investigation into whether the donation violated federal laws that prohibit “pay to play,” the trading of money for legislative action.
“It’s never going to come to anything,” Todd Graves, the state GOP chairman, told reporters Monday.
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Graves said that pay to play would require an “explicit quid pro quo, not an implicit quid pro quo.”
Graves called the group pushing for an investigation partisan and rejected questions about the contributions as innuendo. He also dismissed questions raised by Republican state Sen. Ryan Silvey of Kansas City, who Graves noted has feuded with Richard after he was passed over for a chairmanship.
Silvey pushed back on the suggestion that his concerns about the contribution stemmed from a feud.
"I see it as a good government thing. I don’t see it as a feud,” Silvey said Monday. "This is my 13th year in the general assembly. This is my 13th session and what I perceive as the undue influence of outside forces this session greatly exceeds any of the previous 12. I think everyone should be concerned."
Missouri Democrats have called on Republican Attorney General Josh Hawley to mount a state investigation.
Graves asked whether pro-union lawmakers who receive contributions from unions should also be investigated under the same logic
“Richard and Humphreys agree on 99 percent of the things facing the legislature,” Graves said, noting that Richard has introduced the bill for multiple years.