Former Missouri House speaker Richard Rabbitt dies

Monday, December 12, 2011 | 7:32 a.m. CST; updated 9:17 a.m. CST, Monday, December 12, 2011

KIRKWOOD — A funeral Mass will be held Wednesday in Kirkwood for Richard J. Rabbitt, who served as speaker of the Missouri House in the 1970s before going to prison on federal corruption charges.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that Rabbitt died Friday of heart failure. He was 76.

Rabbitt was elected to the House in 1960 and served eight terms, including three terms as majority floor leader and two terms as speaker, from 1973 to 1976. He quit the House to run for lieutenant governor in 1976, losing narrowly.

He was indicted by a federal grand jury in 1977 on charges that he took kickbacks through his law firm in connection with influencing legislation. He was convicted and spent 16 months in prison.


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