Kansas City politician paid for paper’s support

Tuesday, February 15, 2005 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 8:05 a.m. CDT, Monday, July 14, 2008

KANSAS CITY — A reporter and columnist for The Call, a newspaper targeted at the city’s black community, accepted $1,500 from the congressional campaign of the Rev. Emanuel Cleaver while also reporting on the election.

Eric Wesson also wrote editorials praising Cleaver and criticizing his opponents, Democrat Jamie Metzl and Republican Jeanne Patterson. Cleaver, a former Democratic mayor, defeated both en route to replacing Democratic Rep. Karen McCarthy in Missouri’s 5th Congressional District.

Kansas City’s alternative weekly newspaper, The Pitch, reported on the deal in October. It was picked up Monday by The Washington Post in the wake of news that three conservative columnists were paid by the government to promote Bush administration policies.

Both papers said Cleaver’s campaign paid $1,500 last summer to One Goal Consultants, a company that Wesson owns, according to state records.

Wesson told The Post he wrote scripts for Cleaver’s phone banks and did “other miscellaneous things” for the campaign.

In his editorials, Wesson praised Cleaver, defended him against allegations that a state agency did not follow its own regulations when it loaned Cleaver $80,000, and chastised the national Democratic Party for not giving more money to Cleaver’s campaign.

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