- Associated Press - Friday, November 18, 2016

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri lawmakers are questioning whether the decision by state Departments of Natural Resources and Conservation officials to loan public artifacts to a private museum owned by the founder and CEO of Bass Pro Shops amounted to pay-to-play.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch (https://bit.ly/2g3Q5cE ) reports Johnny Morris owns Ancient Ozarks Natural History Museum in Branson. Morris requested to borrow some of the artifacts from a Missouri State Museum facility for his own museum and later made a $50,000 donation to the state parks foundation.

State parks director Bill Bryan told a House of Representatives panel Thursday that the loan was a private-public partnership. Bryan denies Morris’ donation had anything to do with the loan.

Some panel members say they will look into how the foundation is spending the money Morris contributed.

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Information from: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, https://www.stltoday.com

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