Friday, October 20, 2017

First in MOScout: LeVota Appeals MEC Fine

Lobbyist Phil LeVota – brother of former Sen. Paul LeVota – has appealed a Missouri Ethics Commission fine of $20,000.  See the findings here.  And LeVota’s appeal here.

This is a follow-on of a previous finding against Katherine Stepanek and the Show-Me Council.  LeVota is a lobbyist for the Show-Me Council.

The most troublesome of the MEC’s allegations is that “there is probable cause to believe Respondent LeVota violated 130.034.1, RSMo by converting some contributions which had been received by the Committee to his personal use and/or that he violated 130.034.2 RSMo by using some Committee contributions for purposes which were not allowable, and that he knowingly did so.”

A hearing on LeVota’s appeal is set for February.


Q&A #1: What Do You Make of Missouri’s Amazon Proposal

Short answer: Depends on who you are.


The Post-Dispatch headline… “Missouri banking on futuristic tube travel in bid for Amazon HQ2.”  To paraphrase a Schoemehlism:  more sizzle than steak.


Social media goes “huh?!?”  “Our downtowns are being revitalized with old industrial and office buildings becoming boutiques, lofts, and restaurants to satisfy the hipster in all of us.”



Rep. Lauren Arthur on Facebook: While many local leaders have helped create a positive civic and business environment in Kansas City, which is thriving, poor decisions in Jefferson City—and even animosity from state politicians towards metropolitan areas—actively undermines Kansas City’s progress. What has the state legislature done with regard to an educated workforce? This year alone, legislators cut funding to higher education institutions by 8% (about $70 million). Two- and four-year colleges have experienced cuts over consecutive years.

What about roads and infrastructure? Instead of having funds to build and grow access, MoDOT's downsized budget means they only maintain roads -- and sometimes they can't afford just the maintenance. Kansas City had to pass a major bond issue to compensate for the state's inaction on roads and bridges.

Amazon's RFP asks for the "presence and support of an inclusive population." Does legislation recently passed by the Missouri General Assembly demonstrate a commitment to making Missouri an inclusive place? Surely not. This year, they passed SB 43, which makes it substantially easier for employers to discriminate against employees. "Bathroom bills" and "cake-making bills" get filed and touted every year. And, of course, the legislature refuses to adopt laws protecting our LGTBQ citizens, who can be fired freely in Missouri due to their sexual orientation…


Renew Missouri press release:  When Amazon sent out the request for proposals, Renew Missouri eagerly read its Paragraph Four that contains the following requirements: Sustainability: Amazon is committed to sustainability efforts. Amazon’s buildings in its current Seattle campus are sustainable and energy-efficient… Amazon will develop HQ2 with a dedication to sustainability.”

Renew Missouri took great strides to point this out to the Governor’s office and policy makers. However, in reading the State’s response, sustainability is not mentioned once. This leads Renew Missouri to the conclusion that our state is not serious about attracting Amazon to Missouri and will, once again, lose out to states like Iowa and Nebraska who have embraced renewable energy and attracted companies like Apple, Facebook, and Google as a result.


McGaugh to the Bench

Rep. Joe Don McGaugh received a judicial appointment from Governor Eric Greitens. See the press release here.

What It Means

It’ll create another vacancy, but more important – it’s yet another powerful chairmanship that’s opening.  The best guess would be that Vice-Chair Rep. Kevin Corlew gets elevated to the chairmanship.  But… there is an outside chance that Speaker Todd Richardson defies expectations and picks a darker horse candidate like Rep. Dean Plocher for example.


Gov. Eric Greitens has appointed Jalilah Otto of Kansas City as Circuit Court Judge for the 16th Judicial Circuit, which covers Jackson County.  The position became vacant due to the retirement of the Honorable Robert M. Schieber.


Galloway’s AG Audit

Auditor Nicole Galloway released an audit of the Attorney General’s Office.  It got a lukecold “Fair” rating.  See it here.

The zinger: no written conflict of interest policy!  “As noted in our prior audit report, the AGO lacks adequate policies and procedures to identify and address certain potential conflicts of interest.  In November 2014, former Attorney General Koster announced he would no longer take contributions from people or companies under investigation by his office, either currently or in the previous 90 days, or from lobbyists or attorneys representing those individuals or companies; and would not accept gifts from registered lobbyists.  As of the end of Attorney General Koster's term of office on January 9, 2017, the AGO had not adopted a formal policy and procedures to enforce this directive.”

The question AG Josh Hawley should be ready for:  Has his office finally formalized this policy?



STL City Seeks Anti-Crime Program

St. Louis City has issued a nearly million-dollar RFP “for programs designed to prevent crimes perpetrated by youth in the City of St. Louis.”  See it here.

The Committee is seeking proposals from qualified not-for-profit organizations to serve at-risk youth in the 11 to 24 year-old age demographic. For the purposes of this RFP, crime prevention programs are defined as those programs that, either on an individual or group level, work to reduce the likelihood of youth involvement in criminal activity.

Additionally, proposals may seek to establish, develop, and instill in the youth the necessary life-skills and tools to encourage current success and prepare them for future opportunities. The City is seeking proposals that utilize a culturally-cognizant community-based approach to prevent or deter all forms of crime and specifically appreciates those proposals which focus on reducing murder, assault and gang activity….”


New Committees

Push Forward was formed.  It’s a PAC.  The treasurer is Myles Littlejohn.


Lobbyists Registration Changes

Michael Michelson added Dr. Thomas Turnbaugh, MD.

Harry Foster deleted Christie Development Associates LLC, Foster Management Inc., and The Meyer Companies.

Sarah Wood Martin deleted NSI on behalf of Axon.


$5K+ Contributions

KC Transportation Transit and Tourism Committee (KC3T) - $10,000 from Rhythm Engineering LLC.

House Republican Campaign Committee Inc - $10,000 from MO Society of Anesthesiologists Political Action Committee.



Happy birthdays to Rep. Ben Harris, Kevin Gunn, and former Rep. Jay Swearingen.

Saturday: David Kent, and Derek Ramsay.

Sunday: Sen. Caleb Rowden, Rep. Rocky Miller, Chris Kelly and Kathy Licklider.