July 20, 2024

The Lake Tribune

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Missouri Republicans call for investigation of State Rep. Dean Plocher

2 min read

The Missouri Speaker of the House said he does not plan to resign following reports accusing him of financial misconduct

Missouri House Speaker Dean Plocher is under fire after allegations surfaced about him submitting misleading expense reports to the legislature. These reports sought personal reimbursement for travel that had already been funded by his campaign.

Plocher, representing Des Peres and a member of the Republican party, labeled the situation as “administrative oversights.” He committed to auditing his expenses and repaying any undue reimbursements. He has already begun the repayment process.

In a public statement, Plocher emphasized his commitment to transparency and accountability. However, following an exposé by The Independent on his expense reports, several Republicans voiced concerns, demanding a formal investigation, hinting at possible consequences for Plocher.

State Secretary Jay Ashcroft, a gubernatorial GOP candidate, expressed his concerns on social media, urging the legislature to act swiftly to uphold the House’s integrity. Another voice, Will Scharf, a GOP Attorney General candidate, highlighted the severity of the allegations and called for Plocher’s resignation if he couldn’t justify his actions.

State Senator Bill Eigel remarked on the gravity of the allegations, emphasizing the violation of public trust and suggesting Plocher’s immediate resignation. Lt. Gov. Mike Kehoe stressed the importance of transparent financial stewardship by elected officials.

Separately, Plocher faced criticism for advocating the hiring of a private firm for managing constituent data, costing $800,000. This led to accusations of unethical behavior from nonpartisan staff, resulting in the dismissal of his chief of staff.

The House Ethics Committee is set to meet soon, and many speculate it’s regarding Plocher. However, Plocher remains focused on his legislative duties, urging an end to political distractions.

Documents obtained under the Missouri Sunshine Law by The Independent revealed several instances since 2018 where Plocher utilized campaign funds for expenses and then sought legislative reimbursements. These claims were made under sworn statements, asserting the use of personal funds without prior reimbursements. Notably, his campaign committee’s treasurer is his spouse.

Potential legal implications for Plocher include being charged with stealing state funds, false declarations, and possible violations related to converting campaign funds for personal use.

House Minority Leader Crystal Quade expressed her concerns over the allegations, emphasizing the severity of misusing public funds, especially involving the House Speaker.

Plocher, a seasoned attorney from Des Peres, recently announced his candidacy for lieutenant governor. He previously held positions as a prosecuting attorney and municipal judge. His entry to the House in 2015 was via a special election, succeeding John Diehl, who resigned amidst a scandal.

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