Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Grand Jury Subpoenas Griffin Files Federal Panel Seeks Campaign, Financial Data

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Grand Jury Subpoenas Griffin Files Federal Panel Seeks Campaign, Financial Data

Article excerpt

A federal grand jury in Kansas City has subpoenaed nearly five years' worth of House Speaker Bob Griffin's campaign finance disclosure reports and his conflict-of-interest statements, from the state Ethics Commission.

The commission turned over earlier this week the reports relating to Griffin, along with thousands of pages of documents filed by three other state officials and nine lobbyists. Because grand jury matters are confidential, the nature of the federal panel's inquiry could not be determined.

The subpoena for all the documents was issued Nov. 8 at the request of Bruce E. Clark, an assistant U.S. attorney with the federal Organized Crime Strike Force.

"I can't comment whether any investigation is being conducted," Clark said in a telephone interview Wednesday from Kansas City.

Officials and lobbyists whose records were subpoenaed and who were reached by a reporter Wednesday afternoon said they had no idea why their reports had been sought.

Thomas Simon, clerk of the state Supreme Court, was among those whose lobbying disclosure reports and personal finance disclosure forms were requested by federal authorities. Simon said he didn't know why his records were interesting to the government, but pointed out that a subpoena was not necessary to get them.

"It's very strange," said Simon, who is a friend of Griffin. "Those are open records. Anybody can come in and look at them without a subpoena."

Besides the reports filed by Griffin and Simon, federal authorities asked Ethics Commission Executive Secretary Marion Sinnett to provide copies of personal finance disclosure forms of state Sen. Ronnie DePasco, D-Kansas City, and former state Sen. Thomas McCarthy, R-Chesterfield. Also requested were campaign finance-disclosure reports from committees connected to Griffin, DePasco and McCarthy. The request covered all records going back to Jan. 1, 1990.

In addition to Simon, lobbyists whose records were subpoenaed included Jeffrey S. Griffin, the speaker's son, and Peter C. Vail, John E. Bardgett Jr., Donald L. Gorman, Charles "Andy" Arnold, Robin Hawkins, Harry Gallagher and Woody Simmons. Also sought were any complaints filed against the officials and lobbyists. …

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