JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Attorney General Josh Hawley has announced an abrupt reversal from his campaign promises. As an alleged pay-to-play scandal continues to loom over Jefferson City involving a major donor to Hawley’s campaign David Humphreys and Missouri Senator Ron Richard, Hawley is reversing course from his campaign promises to crack down on public corruption and open a “Public Corruption Unit” in his office.
The pay-to-play allegations have drawn bipartisan criticism and prompted calls from a federal watchdog group and the Kansas City Star Editorial Board for a federal investigation.
Hawley broke his silence on the issue by making the misleading excuse to KCUR that, “My office does not have criminal jurisdiction over pay-to-play allegations,” announcing that he would not investigate the scandal. Hawley continued, saying “there’s nothing wrong” with a donor and public official acting the way Humphreys and Richard did.
Hawley’s comments to KCUR stand in stark contrast to what he promised as a candidate. Just last year, Hawley promised to “attack the pay-to-play politics of Jefferson City,” and to “end pay-to-play” by creating “a new Public Corruption Unit to take on the corruption crisis in Jefferson City.”
Missouri Democratic Party Chair Stephen Webber stated, “Despite bipartisan calls for investigation, Josh Hawley’s either not willing to stand up to his rich donors or afraid to question fellow Republicans. Either way, it’s clear after just a few months in Jefferson City that Hawley’s breaking campaign promises to fight public corruption.”
- During his campaign for Attorney General, Josh Hawley promised to end corruption, end pay-to-play politics, and create a new Public Corruption Unit to tackle corruption in Jefferson City. Hawley even referenced battling the “Jefferson City Cartel.”
- Republican and Democratic members of Missouri’s General Assembly have highlighted the need for law enforcement to investigate this issue.
- The Campaign for Accountability, a federal watch dog group, officially filed a complaint, calling for an investigation from the Acting U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Missouri. The Kansas City Star Editorial Board wrote the “U.S. attorney should investigate Missouri Senate leader Ron Richard.”
- Josh Hawley has received millions of dollars from David Humphreys and his family members, including $1 million in the month after the election. The Humphreys family has donated millions more to Republican candidates and causes at the state and federal level, making them the second biggest political donors in the state after Rex Sinquefield.