Republican Sen. Jim Lembke
By Leisa Zigman I-Team Reporter
St. Louis (KSDK) - Missouri Democrats are going after Republican Senator Jim Lembke (District-1) alleging he broke the law by committing serious ethics violations.
The complaint filed with the Missouri Ethic's Commission says, "Senator Lembke has failed, on several occasions, to report out-of-state travel and lodging expenses paid by lobbyists on his Personal Financial Disclosure Statements. "
In February, The I-Team detailed those possible ethics violations and the fact that Senator Lembke received more meals and gifts from lobbyists over the past ten years than any other lawmaker.
Mike Sanders, Chairman of the Missouri Democratic party said, "Our investigation started in many ways with your report. This is serious stuff. We expect people in office are going to serve and will do so without undue influence. We believe issues like this deserve sunshine. They deserve to be dragged out in the light of day."
When the I-Team brought the possible violations to Sen. Lembke's attention he said he planned to amend his financial disclosure reports. He said he hasn't seen the complaint but that he took care of the issues raised last month. He said the omissions were a simple oversight.
The I-Team found:
-- In 2006, Rosana Bisges with Cisco reported spending more than $1,000 in meals, food, beverage and travel to Phoenix over a two day period on Sen. Lembke (January 5th and 6th). Senator Lembke reported the travel but not the meals and drinks on his Personal Financial Disclosure forms.
-- In 2007, Senator Lembke declared he had no out-of-state lodging or travel expenses paid for by a third party. But in July of 2007, Richard McIntosh with Cisco Systems reported travel, airfare, and lodging for Sen. Lembke totaling $674.93. This was not reported on the Senator's personal financial disclosure forms.
-- In July 2009, Alex Eaton with Missouri Biotechnology Association reported paying $448.51 and $818.68 for Sen. Lembke's travel to Winnipeg, Alberta. Sen. Lembke disclosed the $818.68 but not the $448.51.
-- During a trip to Washington, D.C. lobbyist Francis Flotron reported paying for five taxi cab trips totaling $122.00. This was not disclosed on Senator Lembke's PFDs. While the taxi cabs might seem insignificant, it appears to violate state reporting laws. According to 105.485.2(9)RSMo, any travel outside of Missouri paid for by a third person whether by gift or in relation to the duties of office are required to be reported. And according to an ethics official, any gift or honoraria valued at more than $200 should be listed on personal financial disclosure forms.
-- In July 2009, lobbyist Mark Tucker with Missourians for a Better Economy (MBE) gave Sen. Lembke an award valued at $290.79. This award was not listed on the senator's PFDs.