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Former Missouri House speaker John Diehl has more than $200,000 in campaign account

John Diehl resigned as Missouri House speaker in May after The Star revealed his sexually charged relationship with a 19-year-old House intern.
John Diehl resigned as Missouri House speaker in May after The Star revealed his sexually charged relationship with a 19-year-old House intern. The Associated Press

Five months after resigning from the Missouri General Assembly in disgrace, former House speaker John Diehl reported Monday that his campaign committee still has $206,000 cash on hand.

Diehl, a Republican from Town and Country in St. Louis County, resigned in May after The Star revealed his sexually charged relationship with a 19-year-old House intern.

According to the disclosure report filed with the Missouri Ethics Commission, Diehl raised no money from April 1 to Sept. 30. He only lists two expenses during that time: a $4,000 check to the political consulting firm of Barklage & Knodell and a $20,000 contribution to the Jefferson City-based nonprofit Adam Smith Foundation.

Barklage & Knodell have been longtime consultants for Diehl’s campaigns. In the weeks leading up to The Star publishing the details of Diehl’s relationship with the intern, David Barklage led Diehl’s efforts to shoot down the story and delay its publication.

The Adam Smith Foundation describes itself as an “advocacy organization committed to promoting conservative principles and individual liberties in America.” It was founded by a group of Missouri Republicans in 2007, most notably veteran Capitol consultant James Harris. The foundation has donated to various Missouri campaigns over the years, but it gained national attention in 2010 when it spent heavily in California to support a ballot measure aimed at gutting state regulations on emissions of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide.

At the time of his resignation, Diehl’s committee was set up to fund a campaign for an unspecified statewide office — a common tactic employed by lawmakers when they are forced out of the legislature by term limits but still have campaign cash on hand.

Former speaker Tim Jones, a St. Louis County Republican who currently serves as chairman of the conservative advocacy group Missouri Club for Growth, still has $732,000 cash on hand in his campaign account.

Former speaker Steve Tilley, a Perryville Republican who now works as a lobbyist in Jefferson City, had more than $570,000 in his campaign account until he transferred it this summer to a committee called Missouri Majority PAC.

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