Thursday, May 26, 2016

Dueker’s Sunshine Suit

Attorney, lobbyist, media pundit Jane Dueker filed a lawsuit on behalf of former Rep. Kevin Elmer against the University of Missouri.  Elmer had been seeking public records of professor turned candidate Josh Hawley and had been given the run-around (“For months, Elmer has been met with obstructive and delaying tactics, couched in a litany of intermittent non-responsive responses from the Custodian”) and over-charging routine (“Custodian has charged an exorbitant amount for the gathering and duplication of records that has yet to occur”).

See the lawsuit here.

And there are larger issues involved here beyond the stonewalling of a Sunshine request.  From the lawsuit: [G]iven that Hawley was removed in April of 2015 from the teaching schedule for the Summer and Fall semesters of 2015, it appears the University subsidized Hawley from approximately May 15, 2015 (law school graduation) until his unpaid leave began on September 1, 2015. Such a public subsidy of a political campaign would presumably violate University policy, constitute an undisclosed campaign contribution in violation of Missouri ethics provisions, violate the Missouri Constitution…


Senator Prosecutor Schaefer on Radio

A MOScout reader made a recording of a radio ad that Sen. Kurt Schaefer is running now in his bid to become attorney general.  I’ve uploaded it here.  Depending on the browser or app you use, I think it will work for you.

It’s pretty interesting that the words “state senator” are nowhere to be found in the ad.  But twice Schaefer’s referred to as a “successful prosecutor” and once as “a prosecutor in the attorney general office.”


RYH4K Files Second Complaint

The Raise Your Hands for Kids effort has filed another ethics complaint.  This one is against We Deserve Better, a PAC which sprang into existence to oppose their tax increase.  See the complaint here.

It alleges that We Deserve Better “filed as a continuing committee in order to avoid the reporting requirements Missouri imposes on campaign committee.”  And thus it’s “impossible to determine who WDB's vendors are, so bad-faith tactics like hiring petition blockers and political spies are shield from public view.”

The complaint documents Will Reeder of the Campaign Lab as one WDB vendor, though that’s impossible to verify without the campaign finance filing.


MNEA Opposes RYH4K

The press release: Charles E. Smith, an English teacher and President of the Missouri National Education Association (MNEA), announced the 35,000 educators of the MNEA will oppose the Raise Your Hand for Kids (RYH4K) constitutional amendment.  “The stakes for children are simply too high to overlook the constitutional amendment’s shortcomings,” said Smith. “The amendment permits public tax dollars to fund programs at elite private or religious schools. It lacks strong oversight and it places all decisions in the hands of an unelected commission a majority of whom do not have a background in education. ”


So does MARE.  Never heard of MARE?  They’re the Missouri Association of Rural Education.  See their announcement here. “Many MARE members have been asked to sign a petition in support of the ‘Raise Your Hand for Kids’ (RYH4K) initiative… The revenue generated by this tax would help support early childhood programs in communities throughout the state.  However, “RYH4K” also allows the new tobacco tax funds to be sent to private or parochial schools… The mission of the Missouri Association of Rural Education (MARE) is to support rural schools.  While rural schools would certainly benefit from additional funds for early childhood education, “RYH4K” is not the way to accomplish that goal.”


Kool-Aid to MSTA

Matthew Michelson announced on Facebook yesterday that he’s “accepted a position at the Missouri State Teachers Association as the Government Relations Manager, starting in July.”

Michelson has served as chief of staff to Sen. David Pearce, who is approaching the end of his final term.


Humphreys Contra Silvey

In the large contributions, the rumored David Humphreys check (for $25K) to Democratic senate candidate J. Ranen Bechthold, was finally reported.  This is the first big check I could find from Humphreys to a Democrat.  Bechthold’s opponent is Republican Sen. Ryan Silvey who voted with Democrats against the paycheck protection override.


Huff: Aetna/Humana Merger Anticompetitive

The Missouri Department of Insurance announced late yesterday that the proposed merger of Humana and Aetna health insurance companies – as currently structured – was anticompetitive.

See the order here.

Press release from Lhakpa Tsering, Executive Director of the Missouri Health Advocacy Alliance:  “We applaud Director [John] Huff for looking out for consumers today. With this ruling, the Department took a brave stand to make sure the Missouri insurance market remains competitive.”



As we enter the final week of the month, state tax receipts revenue are running at a respectable +5%.  Still the Post-Dispatch reports that refunds are coming slowly to tax-payers so that number may drift lower.  We’ll see…


In the large contributions, Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal backs Jay Mosley (with a $15K check) in his Democratic primary with former Rep. Bert Atkins to succeed Rep. Keith English in House 68.


In House 163 Republican candidate Bill Birkes made a TV buy.  It’s not big; see the contract here.  He’s in a three-way primary to succeed Rep. Tom Flanigan.  Birkes is retired from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.


Lobbyists Registrations

Sherry Doctorian added LNZ Capital.


$5K+ Contributions

Committee to Elect Bechthold - $25,000 from David Humphreys.

Missourians for John Brunner - $50,000 from New Prime Inc.

Missourians for Peter Kinder - $10,000 from Jim Plunkett Inc.

Citizens to Elect Jay Mosley LLC - $15,000 from Citizens for Maria Chappelle-Nadal.



Happy birthday to former building denizen Chris Weber.