Is John Ashcroft a “Highroad” short of being “Lilly white?

The January 15, 2001 edition of “The Nation” magazine contained an article about the then nominee for Attorney General, John Ashcroft, entitled, “Did Ashcroft Take the Lowroad on the Highroad?” The article said, “In general, politicians of unquestionable integrity do not behave in a manner that provides ammunition to advocates of campaign finance reform. But here was one instance when Ashcroft acted in a fashion that led observers to suspect he is not as honest as he is pious.”
The instance involved the use of Ashcroft’s gubernatorial powers, as the then Governor of Missouri to facilitate the construction of a $140 million, eighteen mile, by pass around Branson, Missouri. The article reported, “But there is no question that the new highway was beneficial to several key political contributors to Ashcroft, most notably Peter Herschend, an owner of the Silver Dollar City amusement center. The road–US Highway 465–would skirt Branson and swing by Herschend’s Silver Dollar City.”
Interestingly enough, no national media ever picked up this story or the allegations it contains. How much effort would it have taken to examine whether or not there was an “economic emergency” justifying such action? An Ole Seagull would suggest that such an investigation would have produced then, and would produce now, more evidence showing why a lot of locals call the Highroad, “Pete’s Highway” than it would that there was an “economic emergency” or that the Highroad has eliminated Branson’s traffic problems.

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