As the main political consultant to Missouri Lt. Governor Peter Kinder -- and a key strategist for the Missouri Republican Party -- David Barklage preaches the gospel of financial responsibility and accountability.
But in his own finances, Barklage has hardly lived up to those tenets: Records show he's racked up liens for more than $560,000 in back taxes.
A series of tax liens filed in Cape Girardeau County from 1995 to April 2011 by both the IRS and the Missouri Department of Revenue suggests that Barklage and his companies have shorted both federal and state government repeatedly and consistently. An RFT analysis of the tax liens suggests that Barklage's debt to the federal government totals $473,102, while he owes the state of Missouri $87,996, mostly in unpaid income tax.
And he's racked up those debts even while making big bucks from the Missouri Republican Party -- as well as Lt. Governor Peter Kinder's political campaign.
Kinder, who's currently facing a political storm over contacts with an ex-stripper/Penthouse pet first reported by the RFT, attended the same church as Barklage in Cape Girardeau. (Other members included the Limbaugh family -- yes, that Limbaugh family.) Kinder later gave Barklage his first political job, as an intern for the late U.S. Representative Bill Emerson. (Barklage did not respond to our requests for comment.)
And these days, if you call Kinder's campaign, you get Barklage's voice mail. The lieutenant governor -- widely believed to be plotting a challenge to Democratic Governor Jay Nixon next year -- has paid Barklage and his companies (Strategic Communications and the Barklage Company) $140,000 since organizing his campaign committee in June 2009.
And it's not just Kinder hiring him for political work. Barklage has been credited as the architect of the Republicans' takeover in the Missouri House of Representatives in 2000. More recently, from June 2009 to July 2010, the state GOP paid Barklage's company Strategic Communications $94,500 for "research," according to the Missouri Ethics Commission.
Those payments happened even while Barklage was racking up fresh tax liens. From 2009 to the present, the state department of revenue has filed tax liens against Strategic Communications, and Barklage as an individual, totaling $57,317. He accrued another $27,408 in federal tax liens during that period.
We've got calls out to everybody (Barklage, Kinder, the state GOP); we'll update this post if we hear back. In the meantime, we've attached copies of a few recent liens filed against Barklage below.