Friday, October 21, 2016

Where’s Rex?

This is the first general election in a while that Rex Sinquefield hasn’t been the dominant donor in Missouri.

After investing millions in the primary and coming out on the wrong end of all the contested races, Sinquefield has been largely absent from the contribution lists.

His sole contribution – aside from bankrolling some St. Louis initiatives – was a $250K check earlier this month to the Missouri Republican Party.

While that’s a big donation by most standards, his absence elsewhere is curious.

Governor: Sinquefield was a big backer of Catherine Hanaway in the primary; and in previous cycles he’d given generously to Chris Koster.  He hasn’t given any money to Eric Greitens and maybe feels like a Governor Koster – who’s not hostile to his message of lower taxes – would be acceptable.

Lieutenant Governor: Obviously Bev Randles was Sinquefield’s signature candidate in the primary.  He almost entirely funded her campaign.  While he can’t be pleased with the idea of a Carnahan winning the office, perhaps Mike Parson’s attacks on Randles are keeping him on the sidelines here.

Treasurer: Sinquefield backed Eric Schmitt early, and when Schmitt froze the Republican primary field, he gave Sinquefield his only (albeit uncontested) victory of the primary.  Perhaps with Schmitt have a towering $2 million cash advantage over his Democratic challenger, Sinquefield feels Schmitt doesn’t need any more help?

Secretary of State: This office was thought to be important to Sinquefield because he has used the initiative petition process in the past.  His primary candidate Will Kraus was overwhelmed by the last name of Jay Ashcroft, and never really had a chance.  Ashcroft is considered the favorite against Democrat Robin Smith.

Attorney General: Sinquefield backed Kurt Schaefer over Josh Hawley in a race that became the spotlight for Sinquefield’s donor differences with David Humphreys.  Maybe the nastiness of the race is keeping Sinquefield from backing Hawley now over Teresa Hensley?

One observer looking at the situation thinks it’s less about the individual races and more about the overall state of the Rex Inc.  With the departure of David Jackson and Kate Casas, the Rex Army lost two lieutenants focused on state government.  Also they note that Travis Brown, CEO of Pelopidas which has served as the government relations arm for Sinquefield, is an expectant father and also has turned his attention more to the media side of operations, known as First Rule.

And it’s possible that having been burned with bad bets in the past, they’re considering if they can get better results through the IP process together with media prowess.

Regardless of why, Sinquefield’s retreat has left Humphreys as the dominant Republican donor of the cycle.  And the result is an elevation of Humphreys’ core issues – labor and legal reform – over Sinquefield’s issues of education and tax reform.

That will have consequence beyond November.


New System Coming in the House?

The House is considering changing its system of committee.  It would be yet another major overhaul from two years ago when John Diehl instituted the “select committee” system.

Rep. Kevin Austin has led a working group of about fifteen state representatives on the issue, and it’s not yet clear how much or how little of the new proposal Speaker Todd Richardson will seek to implement.

But if it goes forward, here’s the general outline.  There would be two dozen or so major committees.  These would be akin to the select committee.  They would cover the big legislative topics: education, utilities, judiciary etc.  Under each of these would be many much smaller committees that would be narrowly focused on specific issues under the major topics.

There’d be an earlier cut-off for bills to be filed and the smaller bills from the smaller committees would be rolled up into larger bills at the select level.

Two committees – Rules and new Titling and Engrossing Committee – would help manage the flow of bills and the composition of bills.  Both could become more powerful in this system.  Possible names mentioned to chair those types of committees: Reps. Kevin Engler, Caleb Jones and Shawn Rhoads. But honestly it’s so early, who knows.

Finally, one addition idea being floated is to estimate early in session how much room there is for new spending in the fiscal year, and have Fiscal Review account for the balance as bills work their way through making sure there’s no more spending than the budget estimate can accommodate.

More on this later.


Martin Supports Trump’s “Rigged” Rhetoric

In his latest email blast Ed Martin supports Donald Trump’s claims of widespread voter fraud.  One Jeff City observer: I guess it would have too much to ask Ed to be reasonable like the many

Republicans that have been and have condemned Trump on rigged elections.

From Martin’s email: A word on rigged elections.  The simple fact is that anything  really important is a target for corruption - from banks to homes to elections - and bad people will find ways to do bad things.  In 2005-06, I was chairman of the St. Louis Board of Elections and I saw firsthand voter fraud - in registration and in voting.  It happens and, to be honest, nothing seems beneath the Hillary campaign especially now that we see that Hillary's campaign has paid for violence at rallies.

My time in elections teaches that the best defense is (of course) offense: that is, take on the corruption when you see it AND talk about how it happens so people can stop it.  That's what we did in St. Louis - we called it leadership! - and what Donald Trump is doing now.


Dems Seek Mission Donor Whistleblowers

Just days after the Missouri Democratic Party filed an ethic complaint concerning Eric Greitens’ campaign inappropriately using his non-profit’s fundraising list, they have upped the ante.

Yesterday they sent out a call for whistleblowers.  See the website here.

After receiving reports from several individuals who received unsolicited donation requests from the Greitens campaign after previously contributing to The Missouri Continues, we’ve decided to make an open appeal for new information that could shed light on this incident.


Attorney Chuck Hatfield ‏continued his Twitter musing about why candidates might not release their tax returns  @chuckhatfield: Possible reason a candidate doesn't want to release their tax returns: concerned they might be asked about them in a deposition.


Baker for Beard-Fosnow

Former Republican Rep. Brian Baker endorses the Democratic challenger, Ashley Beard-Fosnow, over the Republican incumbent Rep. Rick Brattin in House 55. See it here.

Pull Quote: As a Republican, I stand for conservative values, but I will not follow any party blindly. Sometimes you have to cross party lines to find common sense and a servant’s heart…

In 2016 Rick Brattin filed HB2427. The Missouri House website says this bill provides that a redevelopment plan or transportation development district project shall be approved by a majority vote of the county commission of each county in which the redevelopment project is to be located before such a plan is adopted by another municipality within the affected county or counties.

In short, no city council can move forward on a redevelopment plan unless approved by the county commission. Why have a city council and mayor or school boards? Why have a local governing authority if we are going to let bigger government decide our fate? This bill is a bigger government power play. This is not conservative leadership.

Ashley Beard-Fosnow cares….  


What If

If the RYH4K proposal fails but the statutory cigarette tax increase passes, one reader imagines this outcome…

Winners: Missouri Cures and Stowers. It will be at the expense of $300 million a year for kids, but the life sciences industry will get their paper tiger victory over Missouri Right to Life.

Losers: American Cancer Society, Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City and the transportation lobby. Even if Amendment 3 loses, Proposition A – the 23-cent tobacco tax increase for roads and bridges ingeniously pushed by MPCA and small tobacco– will likely win.

The two dominant health groups who helped lead the charge to kill Amendment 3 will be stuck with a 23-cent tax increase, versus the 83-cent total increase they could have.  And the transportation lobby can kiss any gas tax increase in the near future goodbye – there’s a reason why Ron Leone designated his 23-cent tobacco tax for roads and bridges – he needs to keep those gas pumps cheap and churning.

Casualties of War: Missouri children (again).



In case you were wondering whether tobacco was big business or not, this morning’s headline from the Wall Street Journal…  British American Tobacco announced a proposal to buy the stake it doesn't already own in U.S. peer Reynolds American for $47 billion.  British American Tobacco, which already owns 42.2% of Reynolds, has offered $56.50 a share in cash and stock, and said any deal would benefit earnings in the first full year.


The New Republic asks if 2016 will mark the return of the “Blue Dog” Democrat in Missouri.  See it here.


Governing Magazine looks at the ratio to police to citizens in cities.  See it here.


Koster’s team retweets a Tweet showing Greitens raising money in Illinois.  Tweet deleted.  See it here.


Rep. Stephen Webber gets the Tribune endorsement in Senate 19.  See it here.


eMailbag on Greitens Radio Ad

So have you heard Greitens latest radio ad?  He attacks Koster for admittedly supporting Medicaid Expansion, then the second half of the ad has Medicaid expanded Mike Pence endorsing him.


eMailbag on Blunt Kander Race

So Jason Kander brings in the second most liberal US Senator, Elizabeth Warren, to campaign for him and the Blunt team can't put an ad together from that rally? They could have salted this race away in August if they had hit Kander hard out of the primary on his voting record and the job he did as SOS. Now the race is a referendum on Roy Blunt. I think Roy survives narrowly too but it did not have to be a tight race. Kander has run a near perfect race but bringing in Elizabeth Warren was a mistake. Kander, if nothing else, has laid claim to the 2018 D USS nomination to replace ClaireMcCaskill….


Help Wanted

The Supreme Court of Missouri seeks Municipal Division Courts Monitor II.  “This highly responsible position will visit and observe municipal divisions of the circuit courts to evaluate their compliance with minimum operating standards and best practices as established by the Supreme Court of Missouri… Thorough knowledge of the operation of local and state court systems, especially Municipal divisions, is required…”   See it here.


Campaign Committee Amendments

Go MO has renamed its Find the Cures.  See it here.  This committee is in support of a Medical Research and Medical Marijuana ballot initiative.

Brian Treece amended his committee to seek re-election in 2019.  See it here.


$5K+ Contributions

Parson for Missouri - $10,000 from Xcaliber International LTD LLC.

Koster for Missouri - $10,000 from David Zevan.

Greitens for Missouri - $25,000 from Dairy Farmers of America Inc.

Greitens for Missouri - $5,001 from Hary Aggus.

Committee to Elect Brian D Stiens - $5,513 from Glaziers Architectural Metal and Glassworkers Local 513 PAC.

Koster for Missouri - $20,000 from Kenneth McClain.

Missouri Democratic State Committee - $22,000 from Citizens for Stephen Webber.

Missouri Democratic State Committee - $11,000 from Scott Sifton for Missouri.

Missouri Democratic State Committee -$150,000 from Koster for Missouri.

Koster for Missouri - $10,000 from Dollar, Burns and Becker LC.

Koster for Missouri - $25,000 from James Nutter.

Missourians for Byron DeLear - $5,852 from Missouri State Democratic Committee.

Citizens for Vicki Lorenz Englund - $6,678 from Missouri Democratic State Committee.

Friends of Cloria Brown - $41,004 from House Republican Campaign Committee.

Freedom Incorporated - $10,000 from Teresa Hensley for Missouri.

Koster for Missouri - $15,000 from Kristal Thompson.

Greitens for Missouri - $250,000 from Richard Uihlein.

Greitens for Missouri - $50,000 from Herzog Railroad Services Inc.

Greitens for Missouri - $10,000 from David Sokol.

Friends of Don Rone - $15,420 from House Republican Campaign Committee.

Teresa Hensley for Missouri - $175,000 from Democratic Attorneys General Association Missouri.

Friends of Rob Vescovo - $10,000 from Herzog Contracting Corporation.



Happy birthdays to former Rep. Jay Swearingen, Derek Ramsay, and David Kent.

Saturday: Reps. Caleb Rowden and Rocky Miller, former Rep. Chris Kelly and Kathy Licklider.

Sunday: Former Reps. Rebecca McClanahan and Bryan Pratt, and Kenny Murdock.