Ashcroft’s appointment of Ann K. Covington, the first woman to serve on the Missouri Supreme Court, also sparked a controversy after it was revealed that Covington had contributed $1,000.00 to Ashcroft’s gubernatorial campaign just weeks before he appointed her to the state court of appeals in Kansas City in 1987. Columbia Missourian, Jan. 31, 1988; St. Louis Post-Dispatch, March 21, 1988. Ashcroft promoted Covington to the Missouri Supreme Court in 1988. In addition to having contributed to Ashcroft’s campaign, Covington was Ashcroft’s assistant from 1977-79 when he was Missouri Attorney General. St. Louis Post-Dispatch, March 21, 1988; Columbia Missourian, Jan. 31, 1998.
The other three Supreme Court justices closely linked to Ashcroft included Duane Benton, who was Ashcroft’s state revenue director when appointed to the court; William Ray Price, Jr., a good friend of Ashcroft who had worked on his campaigns; and Stephen N. Limbaugh, Jr., the cousin of Rush Limbaugh, who had served as Ashcroft’s political coordinator during his campaign for Governor. After Price’s appointment, Senate Democratic critics "blasted the governor for what they said was an attempt to turn control of the Supreme Court over to Republican insiders," Kansas City Star, April 8, 1992, Aug. 8, 1992, Aug. 17, 1991; St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Aug. 8, 1992.