There's a sticky mess unfolding in Jefferson City and it will be interesting to see how this latest saga ends. Democratic Rep. John Bowman of St. Louis, head of the Legislative Black Caucus and an important cog in Sen. Claire McCaskill's campaign, was indicted this week for credit card fraud. Bowman, as expected, claims he was a victim of the scheme. But only time will tell.
According to the federal indictment, Bowman and 16 others conspired with a former Bank of America vice president to submit false applications for small business credit cards. The bank official in turn would receive a kickback.
Bowman, according to the indictment, submitted a phony credit application in the name of Bowman Consulting. That same firm was part of the McCaskill campaign team. In all, the scheme amounted to $1.2 million in fraudulent charges, though Bowman's share was minimal.
The Democratic leadership in Jefferson City was quick to point out that the activities had nothing to do with Bowman's legislative role and that Bowman should be presumed innocent until proven otherwise. We agree and only wish that politicians held the same view for members of their opposing party as well.
Bowman took a $4,050 cash advance just after receiving the card and the indictment says those funds were used for kickbacks to the bank official. Other than that transaction, Bowman apparently used just $1,000 on the card.
Most of the Jefferson City crowd is playing down the indictment. And in fact, little may come of the case. But you have to wonder just how much damage might result regardless of the eventual outcome.