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Bland names hires convicted felon as aide.

February 18, 2002
By: Rebecca Gannon
State Capital Bureau

Senator Bland's aide is a convicted felon, and that's making waves in the Missouri Legislature.

Rebecca Gannon has the story from Jefferson City.

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Vernon Thompson is a convicted felon, but that's not stopping him from assisting Kansas City Senator Mary Bland this session.

Thompson was convicted last March of two unrelated counts of fraud dealing with public funds.

Now Thompson is now receiving public funds in his paycheck - public money that amounts to two thousand five hundred dollars a month.

Senator Bill Kenney of Kansas City criticized the effect it has on the public's view of Missouri Government.

Actuality:Kenney2
RunTime: 8
OutCue: "... Senate look bad."
Contents: Kenney says he disapproves of the decision, but says it's Bland's choice.

As of now, the Missouri government has no rules prohibiting the employment of felons in the Capitol.

From Jefferson City, Rebecca Gannon


Missouri Legislators are discovering there's nothing wrong with having a felon work for the government.

Rebecca Gannon has the story from Jefferson City.

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Senator Mary Bland's aide Vernon Thompson raises eyebrows, and questions, about the employment of criminals.

Thompson was convicted of fraud in 2001, and less than four months after his release from Leavenworth, he's back in the Capitol.

As of now, there is no regulation regarding the hiring of felons or their employment in the legislature.

And Senator Dave Klarich says there may never be.

Actuality:Klarich2
RunTime: 11
OutCue: "...somebody else's campaign."
Contents: Klarich lists the ways there may be felons/lawbreakers involved in the government.

For now, Bland will keep her aide, where he'll make twenty five hundred dollars a month until the session ends in May.

Rebecca Gannon, Jefferson City.


Between David Barklage and Vernon Thompson, Missouri appears to be starting a trend with lawbreakers on the payroll.

Rebecca Gannon has the story from Jefferson City.

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Convicted criminal Vernon Thompson is making headlines again with his employment in the Missouri Senate.

David Barklage made headlines last week with his track record of using public funds.

Is this a trend in the Missouri Senate?

Senator Singleton of the Senate Rules and Ethics committee sees a need for some review of the present Senate employees.

Actuality:Sigton1
RunTime: 12
OutCue: "... no conflict of interest."
Contents: Singleton is wary of conflicts of interest over the last two weeks.

Thompson is still the aide for Senator Bland of Kansas City, and David Barklage is still the Chief of Staff for Cape Girardeau Senator Peter Kinder.

Rebecca Gannon, Jefferson City.