House leadership has met with Capitol reporters, stating that they have no knowledge of any federal investigation of House activities.
House Speaker Ron Richard (R-Joplin) invited reporters to his office to speak with him, House Speaker Pro Tem Bryan Pratt (R-Blue Springs) and Majority Floor Leader Steven Tilley (R-Perryville).
Richard said he hasn’t talked to any local, state or federal investigators. He also stated he doesn’t know of anyone who has.
News stories have surfaced this week, citing unnamed sources that claim federal investigators have asked them about the activities of former Speaker Rod Jetton, a Republican from Marble Hill, and Minority Floor Leader Paul LeVota, a Democrat from Independence. Allegations seem to center on whether campaign donations were required for committee chairmanships and assignments or for favorable treatment of legislation.
Richard said he doesn’t have a direct role in choosing committee chairmanships. He told reporters that he relies on the work of his Chief of Staff, Jeff Brooks, in choosing chairmen, basing decisions largely on the personal interests of legislators, leaning heavily on seniority.
The Speaker insisted that fund-raising and campaign donations don’t determine any positions in the House.
"I’m not going to be here in two years, so I’m not going to jeopardize my future and the future of my party on something that may be a frivolous decision," Richard said.
Floor Leader Tilley defended Jetton.
"All of us have served with Rod," Tilley told reporters, "I’ve never seen anything, never heard a conversation or seen anything that I felt like was inappropriate, a quid pro quo or pay for play."
Tilley pointed out that Jetton’s name isn’t the only one that has surfaced. He noted that an Associated Press story mentioned LeVota. Tilley said he hasn’t talked with the FBI and hasn’t talked with anyone who has talked with the FBI.
Speaker Pro Tem Pratt says has no knowledge of any illegal activities in the House.
"I’m not aware of a crime that’s occurred and I’m not aware of any member who has spoken to any authorities about a crime that has occurred, "Pratt told the Missourinet, "If I can find either one of those things, then I think it should go right to the Ethics Committee."
All three told reporters that they had not talked with any investigators; local, state or federal.