Mo. Senate confirms appointee who donated to Blunt

Thursday, April 19, 2007

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) -- An appointee to the state highway commission who made a big contribution to Gov. Matt Blunt's campaign won Senate confirmation Thursday.

The Senate agreed to Blunt's appointment of Rudolph Farber on a 27-5 vote after about an hour of discussion. Governor's appointments typically clear the Senate with hardly any debate in a matter of minutes.

But Democrats on Thursday questioned whether there's a connection between Farber's $50,000 contribution and his appointment a couple weeks later.

"At best it's bad timing," said Sen. Joan Bray, D-St. Louis. "At worst it does set it up as government for sale."

Farber and Blunt deny any connection between the donation and the appointment to the powerful State Highways and Transportation Commission that decides which road and bridge projects to build and how transportation money is doled out.

Bray and others also expressed concern that Farber will replace a Kirkwood woman on the commission, leaving it without any member from St. Louis city or county.

Farber, 66, a Neosho Republican, is chairman of the board of Community Bank and Trust. He has tended to favor Republicans with his political contributions, but he also has contributed to some Democrats.

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