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Missouri lawmaker mum on FBI probe of tracking devices

Missouri lawmaker mum on FBI probe of tracking devices

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JEFFERSON CITY — A Republican state lawmaker from Eureka refused Thursday to talk about her role in the alleged harassment of two top members of Gov. Mike Parson’s administration earlier this year.

Rep. Dottie Bailey would not discuss the potentially criminal matter with the Post-Dispatch, saying, “I can’t talk about it.”

Asked if she would provide an explanation of why she couldn’t talk about the incident, which has drawn the attention of the FBI, Bailey said, “No.”

Asked if she has been interviewed by federal investigators, Bailey said, “I can’t talk about it.”

The first-term conservative then exited the House chamber, where a small number of lawmakers had met briefly as part of a special session on the pandemic.

Bailey’s silence comes more than a month after word of a federal probe surfaced in connection with the placement of tracking devices on the private vehicles of the state’s chief operating officer, Drew Erdmann, and the commissioner of the Office of the Administration, Sarah Steelman.

Steelman’s office is in charge of the procurement of goods and services for the state, ranging from janitorial services at state buildings to multimillion-dollar computer services.

Erdmann is charged with overseeing and improving the operation of state government.

Mike Bland, who operates Shadow Company Private Investigations of St. Louis, said he placed the devices on the vehicles last summer as part of an investigation for John Wall, who is affiliated with Asymmetric Solutions, a Farmington military training company.

Bland said Wall and Bailey assisted him in finding Steelman’s vehicle at a golf course north of Jefferson City.

Wall did not return a message left at the business.

Bland said he’s not sure what Wall wanted from the information he was collecting about Erdmann and Steelman.

After the devices were discovered, Bland was interviewed by the Missouri Highway Patrol for two hours in late August. He was interviewed by the FBI for three hours on Oct. 8.

The governor’s office earlier confirmed the probe, which was first reported by KMOV (Channel 4).

The FBI would neither confirm nor deny whether an investigation is underway.

Bland said Thursday he is not sure of the status of the probe.

“I’ve literally heard nothing,” Bland said. “Is no news good news?”

Bailey joined the House in 2019 and was elected to a second two-year term on Nov. 3. The district covers part of St. Louis and Franklin counties.

Prior to serving in the Legislature, Bailey was employed in the banking industry where she has worked as an accounts manager and loan buyer. She has served on the St. Louis Mortgage Bankers Board of Governors since 2017 and has been a St. Louis Tea Party Coalition board member since 2015.

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