David Barklage, a veteran political consultant and lobbyist from Missouri, pleaded guilty to a felony charge in U.S. District Court on Wednesday afternoon.
Barklage, who has been in Missouri Republican politics for decades, was indicted in April for failing to pay more than $ 150,000 in taxes over a three-year period.
In a statement released after making his case, Barklage said he takes “full responsibility for my actions and intends to give me back in full. I am deeply grateful for the support of my family and friends, and I apologize for any embarrassment my personal tax issues have caused them. “
His lawyer, Joseph Passanise, said he intended to ask the court for a probation. He is due to be sentenced on December 2.
According to the plea deal, the maximum sentence Barklage could face would be 3 years in prison, a fine of $ 100,000 and one year of probation.
US Assistant Prosecutor Hal Goldsmith, who specializes in public corruption cases, was the lead prosecutor in the indictment of former St. Louis County executive Steve Stenger.
In the 1990s, Barklage led campaign committees in both the Missouri House and Senate that ultimately helped organize the Republican takeover of the legislature for the first time in 50 years. He’s also a long-time member of Gov. Mike Parson’s political team, most recently as a consultant for Uniting Missouri, a political action committee formed to help Parson win a full four-year term.
This year alone, the Barklage consulting firm was paid approximately $ 70,000 by Uniting Missouri.
Barklage’s former business partner is Robert Knodell, who is Parson’s deputy chief of staff and was the acting director of the Missouri Department of Health and Seniors Services.
The indictment focuses on the failure to report income from 2012 to 2014, a time when Barklage was in business with Knodell. Meanwhile, the indictment says he failed to report $ 443,633 in income and pay $ 151,843 in taxes.
Most of that income – $ 209,499 – came from a political campaign in Missouri, according to the indictment. Another $ 30,000 came from lobbying fees and $ 122,580 came from an unnamed “independent media producer”.
Barklage deposited all of these funds into his personal bank account, according to the indictment, instead of his business bank accounts. These funds and income “were not included in Barklage’s income tax returns for the years 2012, 2013 and 2014,” says the indictment.