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TheChat: Missouri Republicans launch probe of AG Chris Koster. But how serious is it?

Koster
Koster

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▪ “We deserve to know the truth about what happened in these instances where it appears the best interests of the people of Missouri took a backseat to large sums of money that ended up in Koster’s campaign coffers.” — Missouri House Speaker Tim Jones announcing the formation of a new committee to probe how campaign contributions may have influenced investigations by Attorney General Chris Koster.

Jones is seizing on a recent New York Times story that examined the impact of lobbying on attorneys general around the country. Koster’s actions drew considerable attention in that story. But Jones should consider expanding the probe to include leaders of his own House of Representatives whose ties to deep-pocketed special interests also merit attention. Also, the Missouri Times reported Wednesday that Jones apparently hadn’t even asked some committee members to serve on the panel before announcing it. Others are facing term limits and won’t be around very long anyway. All this raises doubts about how much authority this panel will have and whether this deal is really about Jones trying to embarrass Koster one more time.

▪ “Cue groans from all of us on the panel.” — Alan Chvotkin, executive vice president and counsel of the Professional Services Council, a government contractors’ group on the prospect of a Senate Armed Services Committee led by Sens. John McCain, a Republican from Arizona, and Claire McCaskill , a Democrat from Missouri.

A website concludes that such a lineup “should make the Pentagon and contractors especially nervous because it would put two champion attack dogs of oversight” at the committee’s helm. McCaskill standing as the panel’s ranking minority member depends on other Democratic senators with more seniority leaving for other committees.

▪ “Americans sent a clear message last week when they rejected President Obama’s agenda, including his administration’s burdensome energy regulations and policies.” — Missouri Sen. Roy Blunt on President Barack Obama’s agreement with the Chinese to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

A Republican, Blunt said the agreement would prove costly for many Missourians who rely on coal-powered electricity. He accused the administration of a “blatant overreach” and attempting an “end-run around Congress.”

▪ “I saw firsthand how a strategy of obstruction was debilitating to our system and I have no desire to engage in that manner.” — Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid speaking to the Senate Wednesday at the start o the lame-duck session.

Reid’s remark was both a jab at incoming Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and a nod toward a brighter day. Reid, McConnell and every pol on Capitol Hill appear to understand that the American people expect more out of their representatives that more partisan infighting.

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