October 24, 2014

Recovering from disgrace: two Missouri politicians tell how (AUDIO)

They call themselves “recovering politicians”—political figures whose careers and dreams have come crashing down because of scandals.  Two of them are Missourians.

State Senator Jeff Smith was a rising star in the Democratic Party when he went to federal prison for a year for lying to federal investigators about a minor campaign finance law violation.  Former Speaker of the House Rod Jetton was looking at a lucrative career as a political consultant when he became entangled in a one-night stand of rough sex.  He avoided prison by pleading guilty to a misdemeanor charge.  But his political career, like Smith’s, was ruined.

Smith knew as soon as he heard that an associate had been charged with a series of non-campaign crimes that he was political toast. “In just a few moments of weakness in that first campaign,  I now realized that I’d thrown away everything that I’d worked for all my life,” he told county officials last November.

And Jetton realized as soon as his incident became public that he could not avoid admitting what he’d done—to his father, a Baptist minister. “That pretty much strips your pride away,” he has told us.

Their book is called “The Recovering Politician’s Twelve Step Program to Survive Crisis.”  Smith and Jetton are two of about a dozen former office-holders whose lives have taken new directions since their falls from grace.  Jetton now is in private business and is president of a political newspaper that covers the Capitol.  Smith now is a political science college teacher in New York and has written several political articles for national magazines.

The book: The Recovering Politician’s Twelve Step Program to Survive Crisis, …

 AUDIO: Jetton interview 14:34

AUDIO: Smith speech to Mo. Assn. of Counties 1:05:00

Jetton’s Chapter:

http://therecoveringpolitician.com/contributors/rodj/rod-jetton-big-success-can-lead-to-big-failure-an-exclusive-excerpt-from-the-recovering-politicians-twelve-step-program-to-survive-crisis

 Smith  wrote an op-ed piece for the Sept. 8 2009 Post-Dispatch:

http://www.stltoday.com/news/local/govt-and-politics/political-fix/jeff-smith-i-was-stupid-and-wrong/article_caacb873-6399-5d02-803f-a22b22fd7f21.html