Missouri Senate panel approves Ethics Commission appointee, but full confirmation on hold | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri Senate panel approves Ethics Commission appointee, but full confirmation on hold

Apr 25, 2018

A Missouri Senate committee that handles appointments by the governor has unanimously approved Bill Burkes of Joplin to fill one of the vacancies on the state Ethics Commission.

But he’ll have to wait awhile for the full Senate to confirm him. That’s because Senate President Pro-tem Ron Richard, R-Joplin, wants to keep a 50-50 balance of Democrats and Republicans on the commission.

“Bill has agreed to that, he understands what’s going on,” Richard said. “He’s going to the hearings, [knows] who staff is and other members, and so he’s ready to serve once we get that other appointment.”

Right now, there are four commissioners evenly split among both parties: Republicans Don Summers and George Ratermann, and Democrats Kim Benjamin and Wayne Henke.

Henke was confirmed last week and in the process restored the commission’s voting quorum. Burkes, a Republican, would be the fifth member of the commission and would give the GOP a temporary majority.

“In lieu of what’s going on in the state of Missouri, I’m asking you to approve Bill [Burkes], but I’m not going to bring it to the floor of the Senate until I get the other [appointee for] the Democrats,” Richard told the Senate committee on gubernatorial appointments Wednesday, “so Bill and whoever that is can have an even number of Democrats and Republicans.”

Burkes is a retired analyst who worked for the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. He also spent 28 years in the U.S. Army Reserve and National Guard, rising to the rank of lieutenant colonel.

Meanwhile, the Missouri Ethics Commission on Wednesday held its first meeting since Henke became a member. All four commissioners attended via conference call. They took no action on a pending complaint filed against Greitens over accessing a donor list from a charity he founded years ago.

It’s the same donor list at the center of the latest felony charge filed against the governor last week.

Follow Marshall on Twitter:@MarshallGReport