Tim Jones says Missourians will see his kinder, gentler side now
that he's taken over as the speaker of the Missouri House.
The Eureka Republican, fiery and combative in his three terms in
the House, told the Post-Dispatch's Virginia Young last week that as
speaker, he won't be quite the political demolition expert that he
was last year as majority floor leader.
OK, we'll bite.
Admittedly, Mr. Jones hasn't been a favorite here, due mostly to
his anti-gay, anti-women, anti-immigrant, anti-voter, anti-reason
policy positions and his full embrace of the culture of corruption
in Jefferson City. If a lobbyist is offering tickets to sporting
events or picking up greens fees, the man we dubbed "Timmy Tickets"
is first in line.
But it could serve the St. Louis region well to have a speaker of
the House from our community. There hasn't been one since Republican
Catherine Hanaway of Warson Woods in 2003-2004. If Mr. Jones finds a
way to work with the rest of the St. Louis delegation, Republicans
and Democrats, to promote policies that benefit the region, then we
wish him well. His success could be good for St. Louis.
As he starts his new job, however, we offer this advice: Shoot
Before he was elected speaker during Tuesday's veto session, Mr.
Jones told Ms. Young: "I don't see this culture of corruption in
Jefferson City. There's too many eyes, ears and camera phones to do
anything wrong anymore."
There are really only two ways to look at that statement, and
neither of them is good.
Either Mr. Jones really doesn't see the corruption around him (in
which case we're here to help), or he's changed his mind on what is
and isn't corrupt since 2010.
That was the year the Missouri Legislature passed Senate Bill
844, an ethics bill meant to address the "culture of corruption" in
the capital city that Mr. Jones now says doesn't exist, apparently
because of the sudden presence of so many iPhones.
Mr. Jones handled that ethics bill in the House, which would
suggest that he supported its goals. That bill did a bunch of good
things to address corruption. It created the state crimes of bribing
a public official and interfering with an ethics investigation. It
required gubernatorial appointees to publicly disclose their
campaign contributions. It limited the ability of big donors to
shift money between various campaign committees, thus hiding its
true source. It created a new crime for lobbyists who file false
expenditure reports. It gave the Missouri Ethics Commission expanded
powers to conduct investigations.
That law passed, with Mr. Jones' support. It's no longer on the
books, however, because the Missouri Supreme Court found one
provision unconstitutional. …