Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Wagner Blinks

The Washington Examiner broke big news just before the 4th of July with a statement from Congresswoman Ann Wagner that she would not be seeking Claire McCaskill’s Senate seat.  Politicos wondered if Roy Blunt’s re-election campaign didn’t weigh on her.  Perhaps, they imagine, she watched how Blunt’s family’s lobbying activities were a prominent part of Jason Kander’s campaign, and considered whether she wanted to subject her own family to the scrutiny of a top-targeted Senate campaign.

Regardless, soon after the news circulated folks were making lists of possible new candidates to jump into the race.  Attorney General Josh Hawley is considered the favorite, but the door is still wide open.  Names I’ve heard: Treasurer Eric Schmitt, Congressman Jason Smith, Sen. Mike Kehoe, Congressman Blaine Luetkemeyer, and Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler.  And there are still some who think that Governor Eric Greitens is not beyond a late January entry with millions of dark money at the ready.

One Moscouter who’s been right on this situation for a while says that the national conservatives and Mitch McConnell want Hawley as their candidate.  We’ll see….


Scouplette: Ryan to St. Louis

Speaker Paul Ryan is coming to St. Louis to raise money for his PAC.   Look for a dinner event on July 10….


First in MOScout: Austin Montee for House

Austin Montee, son of former auditor Susan Montee, will be running in 2018 to replace Rep. Pat Conway in House 10. Although Republicans have increasingly won House seats in northwest Missouri, this one is still standing as a Democratic stronghold.  Montee is currently finishing up law school.


The other Montee springs are busy as well.  Andy is running the Montee coffee roasting business, Mokaska Coffee Company.  And daughter Amanda works for the DC attorney general.


Priddy’s 4th of July Reflection

We honor fifty-six men today who were unafraid of being known although they knew their lives were at risk and an enemy was nearby… Defenders of the dark money organizations say the secret organizations are necessary to protect donors from political retaliation.  It’s a freedom of speech matter, they say; these people would not be free to express their political positions if they had to do so publicly.  That’s kind of hard for the twenty-dollar donor who lives next door to understand.  How is it that somebody who lives in a big mansion can afford MORE freedom of speech than the people who live on my street in nice but modest homes can afford?  Are not we all equal under the First Amendment?..

Let us ponder how different our nation would be today if fifty-six men in 1776 anonymously issued a broadside accusing King George III of all kinds of awful things. Suppose the accusations carried the tag line, “Paid for by Citizens for Free Colonies,” an eighteenth century Super PAC that was not required to file any reports showing who was behind the attack… Dare we… consider ourselves true descendants of those fifty-six men who had the courage to stand in the light?

See it here.


An End to Englund-Brown Era?

Jean Pretto started a committee to run in House 94 as a Democrat.  This is the district which has served as the battlefield for Cloria Brown and Vicki Englund’s ongoing duel.  But with Pretto, finally a Democrat other than Englund is stepping up to attempt to win the district.

Pretto is current vice-president of the Mehlville School Board.


That Leaked Tax Credit Draft

There’s been a bit of a parlor game going ‘round.  That leaked draft from the tax credit commission had a “tracking number” on it that indicates it was Rep. Holly Rehder’s copy.  But Rehder denies sharing it with anyone, and in fact she had House IT in her office immediately to try and find if there has been a hack.  House IT was able to confirm that it wasn’t sent from her, leading to speculation that the originators of the report may have shared it.

Sleuthers will consider who had the motive and who had the means?  But likely we will never know.  Rehder has always been anti-tax credit.


Fiscal Year Ends

The state has started its new fiscal year.  According to the numbers I received it looks like we ended with the year up 2.61%.  The breakdown…

Sales and use tax: +2.12%

Individual income tax: +2.27%

Corporate income and franchise tax: -7.09%

We should see official numbers from OA this week.

The lackluster revenue growth is the culprit behind the governor’s recent budget withholds as it has next year’s numbers growing off a lower base.  But the growth was good enough to trigger another sliver of an income tax cut.  See the Post-Dispatch article here.


Bohl to Farm Bureau

The press release: Eric E. Bohl has been named as the new Director of National Legislative Programs for the Missouri Farm Bureau Federation. Bohl is now serving as the chief of staff for Missouri Congressman Jason Smith, who represents the 8th Congressional District in Southeast Missouri.  Smith is a member of the House Ways and Means Committee which is responsible for tax and trade policy impacting U.S. farmers…  See it here.


Ashcroft on Trump Request

Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft issued a statement explaining his complying with turning over voter information to Trump’s “Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity.”

“In this era of big data and government overreach, I understand concerns. But the outrage over this request is based on a misunderstanding of the facts...” See it here.

One observer: [As] a state official sworn to uphold the law abided by the law he should get a participation trophy… But don't disregard the defensive nature - this is political shoring up… [He’s] nervous about the base...



Tipster writes… Word is that Attorney General Josh Hawley gave the AG office July 3 off even though all other state agencies were open. [That’s] a departure from past practice when statewide officers follow the governor's lead on whether to give days off for holidays.


A Greitens media advisory says the governor will be in Kansas City today to “sign bills that will help the state compete to win jobs, including several tort reform measures and a bill to create adult high schools.”


Aluminum smelters in Iceland? The reason: low electrical cost… Read the New York Times article about it here.


eMailbag: Mantovani to Zig?

It will be interesting to see if Mark Montovani's exploratory committee switches to an Independent bid for County Executive given the local and nation attention focused on Governor Eric Greitens.  The Governor has called a pro-life special session, allowed the minimum wage to be cut in St. Louis City, and signed RTW into law. These are all policies that would have been vetoed by a Democratic Governor.  Meanwhile, Mantovani is running as a Dem, but gave tens of thousands of dollars to Greitens who ran on these very issues.  I could find a second grader to produce the political attack ad on this for a Democratic primary….


eMailbag on Greitens’ Friday News Dump

Doesn't matter when or how its announced.  When folks are affected by the policies, that's when the "s" hits the fan anyway….


Today’s Events

From Mary Scruggs’ indispensable calendar:

Thursday: Rep. Warren Love Golf – Shadow Lake Golf Course – Wheatland.

Saturday: Rep. Charlie Davis Reception (for his state senate run) – The Ramsey Event Ctr. – Joplin – 6PM.


Lobbyists Registrations

Corinne Copeland deleted Eisai Inc.

Andrew Wynne deleted US Chamber Institute for Legal Reform.


$5K+ Contributions

Citizens for Burlison - $7,300 from Bill Burlison.



Happy birthdays to former Reps. Gary Dusenberg, lobbyist Chris Molendorp, and Assessor Jake Zimmerman.

Thursday: Susan Montee, and Empire’s Elizabeth Dumm.

Friday: Former Reps. Gayle Kingery and Fred Kratky, Ryan Hobart, and Eddie Roth.

Saturday: Rep. Marsha Haefner, JE Dunn’s Richard Martin, and Jeff Aboussie.

Sunday: Former Rep. Don Ruzicka, and Ron Fitzwater.


MOScout News

The good news: tomorrow my wife and I celebrate our 15th anniversary.

The bad news: We’re taking a long weekend, no MOScout on Thursday or Friday.  See you Monday….