Thursday, September 28, 2017

Q&A #1: Who’s a Good Fit for STL City’s Lobbying Contract?

Yesterday St. Louis City posted an RFP for lobbying services.  See it here.  Dentons’ Rodney Boyd had handled the city’s lobbying needs from 2002 until this year when Mayor Lyda Krewson was elected.  (See what I think is Boyd’s original contract here.)

Krewson’s decision to bid out the lobbying services is a good government re-evaluation of contracts after Mayor Francis Slay’s 16-year tenure.  Still it’s hard not to note that Boyd is close to Krewson’s primary rival, Treasurer Tishaura Jones.  In fact, Dentons currently represents the Treasurer’s Office in Jefferson City.

 

I made a round of calls yesterday to gather thoughts about the job.  Pretty much everyone agrees that it’s not easy to represent the city.  The biggest headache is that the St. Louis City (along with Kansas City) is living an entirely different culture than the rest of Missourah. As a result, outstate legislators are quick to get riled up by the news of the day (a resolution for Anthony Lamar Smith, or the sanctuary city ordinance).  The city’s lobbyist must be able to redirect the legislators from the controversy du jour back to whatever substantive issue the city needs help with.  As long as the cultural difference between St. Louis and the rural Republican legislators exists, there will always be a hot-button, head-scratching headline that creates a big distraction for the city’s agenda.  The lobbyist must be able to remind the legislature about the enormous economic and perception impact that St. Louis has on Missouri, and show them how this is that item is important to the state as well as the city.

Second, many clients of lobbyists have very narrow interests.  They are playing defense on one issue, or looking for a language fix in one bill, or want to be aware of developments in one committee. With a client like St. Louis City (or any other big metropolitan), it’s a very wide field to cover.  The city is impacted from multiple different angles by multiple different entities.  It’s a non-stop job.

 

However, the rewards for a lobbyist, or lobbying firm, can be substantial – especially for one not currently considered in the top tier of firms.  Lobbyist don’t advertise in the Yellow Pages.  St. Louis City is the sort of marquee client that can become the calling card of the lobbyist… John Bardgett = St. Louis County, Bill Gamble = Kansas City, Scott Marrs = Springfield.  And it can lead to a strong pipeline of business.  Not only because it adds cache, but because it puts you in important meetings as a voice of influence and expertise.  When those other decision-makers need help in Jefferson City, you’re the one they’ll call.

 

Other things to consider:

Mayor Krewson and County Executive Steve Stenger have been chummy.  The city and county have been doing a better job of coordinating their economic development efforts.  Is it time for the two entities to work more closely in Jefferson City?

When Boyd landed his role working for the city, it was his first big client.  By picking a relatively young newcomer on the lobbying scene, the city was assured of his full-time, never-stop-working, undivided attention.  At the other end of the spectrum, larger firms who handle similar clients essentially devote one person to service the account full-time.  Which direction will the city want to go?  Start-up or established?

 

And finally there is this spoonful of reality: lobbyists can’t work miracles.  They’ll keep you informed, help anticipate events, make pitches and work the angles, but this hiring doesn’t take Jefferson City off the mayor’s plate.  In the end the mayor is the face of the city in Jefferson City.  Just as Mayor Slay made frequent trips to walk the halls and testify before committees, so too Krewson will have to sell the city – and its needs – in person.  The lobbyist can handle little items and set the table, but the mayor is the closer.

 

Mouton Fined Follow-Up

With Paul Mouton acknowledging that he running afoul the ethics laws, it’s still possible that the Missouri Ethics Commission could seek to fine David Humphreys as well.

Section 105.473… “No person shall knowingly employ any person who is required to register as a registered lobbyist but is not registered pursuant to this section. Any person who knowingly violates this subsection shall be subject to a civil penalty in an amount of not more than ten thousand dollars for each violation. Such civil penalties shall be collected by action filed by the commission…”
SBOE Follow-Up

Education watcher: The push to oust the Commissioner has been completely bungled. [Governor Eric Greitens] will not have a majority of his appointees on the board until July when Mike Jones’ [term expires]… However, by that time the interim appointments he has made will be confirmed. While you can expect some loyalty on policy ideas, he loses all leverage over the appointees and they very well could seek to express their independence. Throw that on top of comments made by SBOE President Charlie Shields regarding the support the Commissioner has amongst the current board members (interim appointees included), it may be a very long time before we see a new Commissioner.

 

eMailbag on House Floor Leader

“Yes, Kirk [Mathews] is perceived by many in the caucus as a nice guy, but that is one of his weaknesses.  Many in the caucus are looking for a more aggressive leader and are supporting [Rob] Vescovo for that reason… Much of Vescovo’s support is not a vote against Mathews, but rather a vote for strengthening the will of the House…”

 

“Kirk is perceived as being very close with the Governor, which can work against him in a caucus vote.”

 

Bits

Post Dispatch reports on the latest Ed MartinPhyllis Schlafly controversy… unpaid bills totaling $130,000.  Martin blames it on “the swamp.”  Really. See it here.  And see the suit here.

 

Kansas City’s Jason Hancock writes about the special election in Senate 8.  See it here.  Pull Quote:  Jacob Turk has Jackson County Republican leaders in a panic…  Republicans pleaded with him not to run, fearing he could split the GOP vote and hand the race to a Democrat for only the second time in nearly 40 years...

 

Springfield News-Leader’s Will Schmitt reports on the menu of options available to raise money for transportation funding.  See it here.  Pull Quote: Missouri's decision to allow passengers 21 years and older to drink alcohol in moving cars is costing the state tens of millions of dollars that instead could be used to build roads and bridges… Rep. Jeff Messenger said Tuesday…. He chairs the Missouri House Policy Development Caucus, a group of about a dozen lawmakers who have toured the state this summer.  [Other options:] Increasing the motor vehicle fuel tax by up to 5 cents; Adding a sales tax on gasoline; Tying the gas tax to the consumer price index; Increasing motor vehicle fees; Increasing the general state sales tax; Transferring low-volume roads to local governments; Adding tolling capability to interstates…

 

Post-Dispatch’s Kurt Erickson writes about MOChamber suing MO Ethics Commission over am opinion that bars corporation from contributing company funds to their own PAC.  See it here.

 

Scott Charton featured in this article about journalists charting new careers after journalism.

 

And

This may be satire, this may be real life.  I just don’t know anymore.

 

Help Wanted

St. Louis REALTORS seeks Assistant Director of Government Affairs. “The Assistant Director of Government Affairs will be the point person for PAC fundraising and related event planning, and will help the Director of Government Affairs with association committees, coalition building, research, and grant writing. They will interact with members, fellow staff, and elected officials. Public speaking, a high level of comfort and competence with technology, and the ability to multi-task are all important aspects of this job…”
See it here.

 

Today’s Events

Powered by Mary Scruggs’ indispensable calendar:

Rep. Steve Cookson Lunch – Ozark Ridge Golf Course – Poplar Bluff.

Speaker Todd Richardson Golf - Ozark Ridge Golf Course - Poplar Bluff – 9AM.

Rep. Holly Rehder Shrimp Boil – The River House – Scott City – 6PM.

Sen. Jason Holsman Reception – The Rockhill Grill, Kansas City – 5:30PM.

St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger – Café Napoli, Clayton – 5:30PM.

 

$5K+ Contributions

Committee to Move St. Joseph Forward - $20,000 from Mosaic Life Care.

POL PAC - $7,500 from H&R Block.

Missouri First PAC Inc - $25,000 from Republican Services Inc.

Citizens for Steve Stenger - $15,000 from STL Citizens for Responsible Government.

STL Citizens for Responsible Government - $10,000 from Central Bank of St. Louis.

 

Birthdays

Happy birthdays to Reps. Scott Fitzpatrick (the big 3-0) and Tommie Pierson Jr., former Reps. Michael Brown and Nathan Cooper, and Dana Loesch.