Missouri's new GOP senator under investigation before he's even sworn in


That didn't take long.

Most Republicans wait until they come to Washington to join the culture of corruption — but Missouri Senator-elect Josh Hawley decided to get a jumpstart by engaging in possibly illegal activities during his campaign for Senate.

The attorney general of Missouri, Jay Ashcroft, is investigating Hawley for misusing public resources to help his Senate campaign after the American Democracy Legal Fund (ADLF) filed a complaint.

The investigation stems from a Kansas City Star investigation into Hawley's shady activities while he simultaneously served a short stint as attorney general and planned to run for Senate.

Hawley's campaign consultants allegedly told his taxpayer-funded state employees what to do, in an effort to shape Hawley's image for the Senate race.

The Star "obtained emails, text messages and other records showing that Timmy Teepell and Gail Gitcho, political consultants from Louisiana and Massachusetts, exerted influence in the attorney general's office to the point that some staff became uncertain about the chain of command in the office."

"Josh Hawley's flagrant abuse of his taxpayer funded office for his own political gain deserves immediate investigation," ADLF president Brad Woodhouse said in a statement praising Ashcroft's office for opening an investigation into what he called a "racket."

Hawley narrowly defeated Democratic incumbent Sen. Claire McCaskill in a closely watched midterm race.

It's becoming alarmingly common for Republicans to try to win elections using unethical or illegal means.

Trump himself is under a massive investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller for allegations his 2016 campaign colluded with Russian forces to illegally influence the election. And Trump's longtime personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, said Trump instructed him to illegally pay hush money to one of Trump's mistresses for the express purpose of influencing the election.

In North Carolina, Republicans in the 9th Congressional District face allegations of massive election fraud involving potentially thousands of votes. A campaign operative allegedly collected absentee ballots from residents, and either destroyed the ballots or filled them in for the Republican candidate, Mark Harris.

And several other House Republicans won re-election despite evidence of criminal behavior.

Two returning Republican House members, Chris Collins of New York and Duncan Hunter of California, won their elections while out on bail after being indicted by federal prosecutors. Other shady returning members of Congress include Montana's Greg Gianforte, who pleaded guilty to violently attacking a reporter, and Ohio's Jim Jordan, who allegedly turned a blind eye to students getting molested at Ohio State University.

Josh Hawley will enter the Senate under an ethical cloud — which should make him feel right at home in an increasingly corrupt Republican Party.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.