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Longtime GOP consultant, lobbyist faces federal tax charge

May 6, 2021 GMT

David Barklage, a political consultant and lobbyist whose clients have included several prominent Republicans in state government, has been indicted on a felony tax charge.

The indictment handed up in U.S. District Court in St. Louis on April 28 and unsealed Thursday alleges that Barklage failed to report $443,633 in income from 2012 through 2014. As a result, according to the indictment, he failed to pay $151,843 in taxes.

A statement from the law firm representing Barklage -- Wampler & Passanise Law Office -- said Barklage “maintains his innocence throughout this process. We look forward to reviewing the Federal Government’s evidence regarding Mr. Barklage’s personal taxes.”

An email message seeking comment from Barklage was not returned, and a phone call went unanswered.

Barklage operates the Barklage Company. He previously partnered in another firm with Robert Knodell, another big name in Republican politics who served as GOP Gov. Mike Parson’s deputy chief of staff. Last month, Parson named Knodell acting state health director after the resignation of Dr. Randall Williams. Barklage and Knodell LLC dissolved in 2018, according to records on the Missouri Secretary of State’s website.

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Barklage was a consultant last year to the Uniting Missouri political action committee, which provided financial backing for Parsons’s successful election bid. Barklage also has worked with key players in the Missouri House and Senate, and his efforts in the 1990s helped Republicans take control of the Missouri General Assembly.

Barklage also was a longtime consultant for former Republican Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder. The relationship splintered when Barklage went to work for a rival GOP gubernatorial candidate, businessman John Brunner, during the 2016 campaign.

Both Kinder and Brunner lost the nomination to Eric Greitens, who was elected in November 2016. Greitens resigned amid criminal and ethics investigations in 2018. Parson, who was lieutenant governor, became governor.

The first court appearance for Barklage is Friday, and the statement from his lawyers said he will plead not guilty.

The U.S. Attorney’s office in St. Louis declined comment.

___ AP reporter Summer Ballentine in Columbia, Missouri, contributed to this report.