JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) – Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens has appointed a couple of business executives who gave tens of thousands of dollars to his campaign to serve on the state Coordinating Board for Higher Education.
The appointees announced this week were among several who had donated to the Republican’s 2016 gubernatorial campaign in which he ran as an outsider pledging to shake up the political establishment. Previous Democratic and Republican governors also have tapped their donors to serve on state boards and commissions.
The biggest donor is Investa Management owner Carl Bolm, who gave Greitens’ campaign $75,000. Greitens appointed him to the Coordinating Board for Higher Education. He also picked Bobby Robertson, CEO of Omnigo Software and chairman of the board of HEALTHCAREFirst, a healthcare software technology company. Robertson donated $20,000 to Greitens’ campaign from 2015 to 2016, and he gave it another $1,300 in April.
At least four other appointees Greitens named on Wednesday also contributed to his campaign.
When asked about whether the donations influenced the appointments, Greitens’ spokesman, Parker Briden, told The Association Press, “no, it would be about their qualifications.”
Greitens is hardly the first governor to appoint donors to state boards and commissions.
His predecessor, Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon, appointed World Wide Technology founder and chairman David Steward to the University of Missouri Board of Curators in 2011. The company had long been a state contractor and was a major political donor to Democrats and Republicans alike. It gave $10,000 to Nixon’s campaign in December 2008 to help cover the costs of his first inaugural and an additional $10,000 to Nixon for his second inaugural 2013.
Former Republican Gov. Matt Blunt drew criticism from Democratic lawmakers in 2007 when he appointed businessman Rudy Farber to be the powerful state transportation commission two weeks after receiving a $50,000 contribution from him.
Another new appointee who contributed to Greitens is Shawn Saale, an attorney who specializes in estate law, business succession planning and charitable giving. He gave Greitens $2,500 last year and was also appointed to the higher education board.
David Corley, the director of JTL Enterprises, Inc. who previously worked for Octane Fitness, LLC, gave Greitens $1,000 last year before his appointment to the Tourism Commission.
Fred Schmidt, Greitens’ appointee for the Safe Drinking Water Commission, gave the governor’s campaign $2,000 last year. Fred and Jane Schmidt also made donations to Greitens’ campaign worth close to $14,600 in 2015 and 2016. Greitens’ office said Schmidt is president of FWS Land Strategies, which handles real estate brokerage, investment and consulting.
Transportation management company MyFreightWorld Technologies Inc. President and CEO Kevin Childress similarly made political donations to Greitens, who appointed him to the Jackson County Sports Complex Authority. Childress, a longtime Republican giver, donated $4,500 to Greitens in 2016. Kevin and Lory Childress also gave the governor $1,000 in 2015.
Associated Press writer David A. Lieb contributed to this report.
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