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Missouri House Democratic leaders say case is closed regarding speaker's 'side business'

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Sept. 20, 2013 - The Missouri House’s two top Democrats have sent a joint letter to Speaker Tim Jones, R-Eureka, to say that they no longer have any questions regarding his soon-to-be defunct LLC, the Missouri Freedom Alliance.

House Minority Leader Jake Hummel, D-St. Louis, and House Minority Leader Gail McCann Beatty, D-Kansas City, said they were satisfied with Jones’ explanation, as published Monday in the St. Louis Beacon.

Wrote Hummel and Beatty:

“Thank you for publicly settling the questions relating to your side business, Missouri Freedom Alliance, as we had requested in our letter dated Sept. 9.

Based on the Sept. 16 story in the St. Louis Beacon examining business documents you provided to that news organization, there appears to be no conflict between the work you performed and your official duties as a state lawmaker and speaker of the Missouri House of Representatives. As a result, we consider the matter resolved.”

Jones recently opened all records to the Beacon to back up his explanation that the Missouri Freedom Alliance had been set up in late 2007 to handle legal business in case his law firm folded and he went into private practice.

The Alliance was used as a pass-through for only six clients, records show, and has largely been inactive since 2009, with the exception of some legal payments in 2012 for earlier work.

Jones says he likely will dissolve the LLC, since it is no longer needed and appears to create political problems.

Jo Mannies has been covering Missouri politics and government for almost four decades, much of that time as a reporter and columnist at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. She was the first woman to cover St. Louis City Hall, was the newspaper’s second woman sportswriter in its history, and spent four years in the Post-Dispatch Washington Bureau. She joined the St. Louis Beacon in 2009. She has won several local, regional and national awards, and has covered every president since Jimmy Carter. She scared fellow first-graders in the late 1950s when she showed them how close Alaska was to Russia and met Richard M. Nixon when she was in high school. She graduated from Valparaiso University in northwest Indiana, and was the daughter of a high school basketball coach. She is married and has two grown children, both lawyers. She’s a history and movie buff, cultivates a massive flower garden, and bakes banana bread regularly for her colleagues.

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