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ICYMI: Keep Your Friends Close: Missouri Gov. Mike Parson Rents Campaign Offices From Lobbyists

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Once again, Missouri Gov. Mike Parson and his political allies are coming under fire for their cozy relationships with lobbyists and Jefferson City insiders. A report from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch detailed how Parson’s campaign is renting office space from lobbyists – ensuring that the rich and powerful have close access to the seat of power.

The Parson campaign has an office inside the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s headquarters in Jefferson City, as well as a second suite of offices owned by lobbyist Brent Hemphill, who represents a number of casinos.

It’s common practice within Parson’s inner circle to give lobbyists special treatment. The Parson administration was under investigation by members of Parson’s own party for giving special privileges to clients of medical marijuana lobbyist Steve Tilley, Parson’s longtime friend and fundraiser.

Missourians are clearly fed up with Parson’s reluctant leadership and his willingness to prioritize his rich and powerful friends over hard working Missouri families – a new poll released this week shows Democratic nominee Nicole Galloway virtually tied with Parson.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Amid accusations of insider politics, Parson campaign rents space from lobbyists

At the same time Republican Gov. Mike Parson’s campaign is criticizing his opponent’s husband for having served as a lobbyist, the governor’s team is sharing office space with lobbyists.

The campaign is paying $1,000 a month for space in the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s headquarters in Jefferson City, as well as using space in a suite of offices owned by lobbyist Brent Hemphill, who represents Ameren, AT&T and a number of casinos.

The chamber is among the more high-powered lobbying groups under the Capitol Dome, pressing for pro-business issues including pandemic liability protections for businesses.

Parson campaign manager Steele Shippy said Hemphill has contributed the space in his building as an in-kind donation. The offices used by the campaign are on a different floor from Hemphill’s lobbying organization, he added.


A spokesman for Democratic state Auditor Nicole Galloway said the arrangement shows how Parson’s “powerful friends” are spending money to keep him in power.

“The hypocrisy would be stunning if it weren’t already commonplace in Jefferson City,” Eric Slusher said.

Since the advent of the campaign, Parson allies have attempted to define Galloway as an insider, even though she’s been in state government for far less time than Parson.


A political action committee allied with the Republican governor, for example, has run ads accusing Galloway of ethics violations in connection with her husband, Jon Galloway, who was a registered lobbyist for the Mortgage Research Center, also known as Veterans United Home Loans, from September 2013 to March 2015.

Soon after they began airing, Galloway’s campaign fired off cease-and-desist letters to television stations saying the 30-second spot was false, leading to nine broadcasters removing the original ad from the airwaves.

Shippy also has tweeted a graphic labeling Galloway’s father, husband and uncle as lobbyists. Her father-in-law, Doug Galloway, has lobbied for the telecommunications provider CenturyLink.

But Parson also has long been friends with one of the Statehouse’s most powerful and controversial lobbyists, Steve Tilley, a former House speaker who has raised money on behalf of the governor’s bid for a full, four-year term.

The Kansas City Star earlier reported that Tilley has been under FBI scrutiny for months — with questions ranging from his involvement in the medical marijuana industry to his connections to utility contracts in Independence.