Preferred Family under investigation for illegal political lobbying, kickbacks

Preferred Family Healthcare in Kirksville (Photo: KTVO)

A political consultant pleaded guilty to conspiring with a former Arkansas lawmaker and Springfield, Missouri, charity executives to spend nearly $1 million on illegal political activity.

Sixty-two-year-old Donald Andrew Jones, of Willingboro, New Jersey, pleaded guilty Monday to conspiracy. Jones' firm, D.A. Jones and Associates, is a consulting company based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Prosecutors say Preferred Family Healthcare, formerly Alternative Opportunities of Springfield, paid Jones about $973,000 for illegal lobbying and political activity.

The company merged with Preferred Family of Kirksville in 2015, taking its name, but court documents note the activity took place before the merger of the two non-profits. The Kirksville company is not involved in the investigation.

Five unnamed co-conspirators who worked for Preferred Family - including a former Arkansas state lawmaker - have not been charged.

Court documents say that to hide Jones' activities, the conspirators described his services as "consulting" or "training," when he was actually lobbying lawmakers to support projects for the charity. They also made personal contributions to elected officials that were reimbursed by the charity.

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