JEFFERSON CITY -Gov. Bob Holden defended his controversial appointment of a Republican state representative, who says he doesn't want to serve, during a press conference Monday.
Rep. Mark Richardson, R-Poplar Bluff, was appointed Wednesday to serve on the state redistricting commission for both the House and Senate. He resigned Monday from service on both redistricting commissions.
Problems began in late February, when according to the Missouri Republican Party, the governor's office leaked information to Republican lawmakers that Richardson could be in violation of constitutional "emolument of office."
As a state representative, Richardson is prohibited from receiving more than one paycheck from the state. If he served on a redistricting commission Richardson would have received $15 per day as compensation.
Republicans say they withdrew Richardson's name after hearing about the possible violation. Holden appointed Richardson anyway because, according to the governors office, his hands were tied. There is nothing in the Missouri Constitution that allows the removal of names once they are submitted to the governor.
In response to criticism Holden said,"I picked the names that the Republicans gave me. I was working from the list that they submitted to me."
According to Holden, Republicans gave him a limited amount of choices and Richardson was the best candidate because he was the most bipartisan.
"They tried to hamstring my list of available choices, because they put the same people on the House Redistricting Committee and the same people on the Senate committee--trying to limit the choices I had," said Holden.
Republicans submitted 18 names to the governor, with duplicate names slated in both the House and Senate redistricting commissions. Richardson's name was on the list because his term in office expires in 2002. The governor's office says Republicans should have submitted at least ten more names, giving him more options.
Holden says that the Attorney General's office is looking into resolving the matter, in terms of whether or not Republicans can resubmit names for the redistricting commission, or if he can appoint a replacement.