JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Missouri House speaker Dean Plocher, a Republican from St. Louis suburb Des Peres, will not step down after recent calls to resign.
Plocher has repaid thousands in taxpayer dollars that he inappropriately received as reimbursements for travel and other expenses dating back to 2018.
The Kansas City Star reports that Plocher also facing criticism from within his own party, including various calls to resign. In an interview with podcast “This Week In Missouri Politics,” Plocher dismissed any possibility of leaving his role.
“I look forward to leading the House to produce good Conservative legislation, such as property tax cuts, personal property tax reform,” said Plocher via the podcast. “[There are] a lot of good things to do. I’m not going to let this liberal distraction from George Soros remove me from doing a good job for the people.”
The Missouri Independent on Monday first reported years of expenses that Plocher received state reimbursement for, even though he paid for the expenses out of his campaign fund and not out of his own pocket. It’s estimated he has repaid around $3,300.
Missouri law allows elected officials to use money from their political campaigns for some government-related expenses. But it’s unlawful to use taxpayer dollars to reimburse campaigns or for political expenses.
In a Monday email to fellow Republican House members, Plocher wrote that his campaign treasurer, his wife, early last week told him he “had received reimbursement from the House for an extra hotel night during a conference I attended that I should not have been reimbursed.”
“When I learned of that, I immediately reimbursed the House,” Plocher wrote. “Because of this error, I reviewed all of my travel reimbursements and it revealed that I had additional administrative errors, to which I have corrected.”
Voters elected Plocher, a lawyer, to the House in 2015. He’s banned by term limits from running for re-election in 2024 and instead is vying to be the state’s next lieutenant governor.
The Associated Press contributed to part of this report.