Much of the rough and tumble of last week's legislative budget crafting ended up being overshadowed by Republican allegations that a top aide to Governor Nixon offered bribes for votes. The state GOP's move to request investigations into exactly what deputy chief of staff Dustin Allison said during his lobbying blitz was to be expected. But it's not what the Governor needed when more "gentle" arm-twisting will likely be required this week. Democrats, who have called the allegation "ridiculous," say the charges are designed to distract from the issue at hand: expanding healthcare coverage to low-income Missouri parents. Cutting deals for votes is as old as the union and quid pro quos are almost always murky and difficult to nail down. But Jason Rosenbaum's video of the freshmen Republicans who were allegedly offered something is probably the most damning public evidence to date. "He said, 'I'm prepared to make a deal right now,'" said Rep. Anne Zerr. Rep. Chris Molendorp said he was "on the fence." But when "faced with that type of proposition," Moldendorp said he had no choice to vote no because "it was clearly over the line." Springfield Rep. Eric Burlison told me this week that the allegations "were very real." With a 56% approval rating, Governor Nixon has the clout to line-item veto some of the GOP stimulus projects. But in the short term, the simple stink of arm-twisting won't help boost goodwill among Republicans, who Nixon will need as he tries to salvage his top priorities in the final week of the session.