Thursday, July 7, 2011

Peter Kinder's Terrible Crisis Management

Let's review for a minute the way Peter Kinder handled allegations that he was inappropriately using taxpayer money for personal and political business:
  • First, Kinder denied he did anything wrong.
  • Then, he still claimed that he didn't do anything wrong, but decided to pay back a chunk of money.
  • Then, yesterday, the Republican auditor found that Kinder needed to pay back $2,000 more dollars, which he did.
  • Yet, even now, as the Post-Dispatch is reporting, Kinder still hasn't paid back the cost of taxpayer funded meals under questionable circumstances:
    The review also found that taxpayers paid for $10,893 worth of meals for Kinder on his in-state trips. Auditors said they couldn't tell whether those expenses were proper because Kinder's calendar "lacked sufficient detail.

An example of one of those meals: June 2007, he billed taxpayers for two nights at the Chase Park Plaza and a $44 dinner. The only event listed on his expense form was a ribbon-cutting at a refurbished apartment complex. On another trip, in June 2009, he spent two nights at the Chase and ate two lunches at Plaza Frontenac and a $55 dinner at a French restaurant, Vin de Set. His official schedule listed an appearance on KMOX and a concert and reception for the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.
This is a political disaster and it's hard to imagine Kinder managing it any worse. Why wouldn't he just pay back absolutely everything remotely questionable the minute the first report came out? His handling of this is stretching out a damaging story over months.

And some news from Captain Obvious: being able to manage a crisis is actually a pretty important part of being a governor.

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