Senate “Slush Fund”
Auditor Nicole Galloway reprimanded the Senate in her audit (see it here) for maintaining a separate bank account – in violate of the constitution – which is funded by soliciting contributions from lobbyists to buy meals for legislators. Yes, it sounds bad.
But this sounds worse: the Senate’s response.
This is a challenging situation because the Senate understands why the SAO recommends closing the account; however, there is no apparent solution that works operationally for the Senate. When the Senate is in session, Senate staff are required to be present until session adjourns and the schedule is such that it’s difficult to predict when staff will work in excess of 12 hours. The Senate agrees to continue to review other ways to purchase meals as necessary.
You know the average Missourian would probably offer a pretty simple solution to this seemingly intractable problem… people just paid for their own meals.
It could work just like it does in the real world… “Dude, looks like we’re working late, I’m ordering a pizza, you want in on it?” “Sure, my man, here’s a fiver, I like anchovies…”
Galloway also issued an audit of the House. See it here.
Speaker Todd Richardson: "We appreciate the efforts of the auditor's office and take pride in the fact the audit reflects an efficiently managed institution that makes wise use of taxpayer dollars. We take the recommendations made in the audit very seriously and will review its findings with an eye on improving the way we do business here in the House. As Speaker I have made it a priority to restore the public's trust in state government and my goal is to continue building that trust by improving the way we operate as an institution."
Webber on the Air
In Senate 19, looks like Rep. Stephen Webber is on the air. See an ad contract here.
Humphreys Plays In STL County Council Race
In the large contributions today is an interesting donation. David Humphreys gave $25K to Ernie Trakas, the Republican candidate for St. Louis County Council District 6.
Trakas is running against former Rep. Pat Yaeger.
District 6 has some geographic overlap with the Senate 1 district race between Sen. Scott Sifton and Randy Jotte. Perhaps this is being done as ancillary support to that race.
One observer sees this: Another signal that this race and the 1st Senate District are earning serious attention from GOP donors and activists looking to take back South County. If Trakas beats Yaeger, it would make the Dem-GOP balance on the council 4-3 for the first time in 8 years. More importantly, it would mean Steve Stenger would be down to just two reliable allies on the council, with the other five members able to flex their muscle on a number of issues labor and otherwise.
Ed Martin on a grainy cell phone video says “you’re not racist if you don’t like Mexicans…” See it here. And then he starts talking about Muslims….
I put up the Schlafly Eagles lawsuit in the Special Reports. See it here.
Haefner as Fiscal Oversight
I received a few emails about Rep. Marsha Haefner being appointed chair of the house Fiscal Oversight Committee.
One of them noted that the committee can be powerful, and wondered to what extent Haefner would be willing to flex the committee’s muscle, or whether she will be a loyal soldier following orders from House leadership.
As an example, here’s a blast from the past… 2002… Read it here. The stadium legislation, which already has passed the Senate, received a hearing before the House Fiscal Review Committee, which must clear all bills with a cost. But chairwoman Kate Hollingsworth, D-Imperial, tried to adjourn the meeting without a vote and hurried out of the room. After she left, fellow committee members voted not to adjourn, then voted 5-3 to send the stadium bill back to the House floor for debate. But the committee vote may not hold up.
As committee chairwoman, Hollingsworth must physically turn in the bill to House Speaker Jim Kreider, D-Nixa, in order for it to receive House debate. Hollingsworth said she was not inclined to release the bill yet and was concerned about its future cost to taxpayers.
Hemphill for Ameren
One MOScout reader noted with a chuckle yesterday’s listing of Brent Hemphill joining Ameren’s lobbying team in the building. Hemphill had previously been with Ameren’s nemesis, Noranda, from 2009 until last month.
Carnahan: Parson Unfit
In a recent fundraising email, Russ Carnahan calls his Republican opponent “unfit” for the lieutenant governor’s office…
As a state legislator, Parson was a top recipient of over 900 lobbyist gifts, a collected value of over $45,000.
According to a Kansas City Star interview with his former chief of staff, Parson agreed to propose legislation on behalf of lobbyists who had given campaign contributions. Not only that, but he didn’t even know what the legislation actually did.
And his tirades and temperament make him unfit for Missouri’s second highest office…
Daniela Velázquez joined the Missouri ACLU as its new Director of Communications. She’s a former journalist.
Former Sen. Jane Cunningham putting out fires (or starting them?) at the Monarch Fire District. See it here.
eMailbag: Close Gift Loophole As Well
Will the lobbyist gift ban bill include a ban on reimbursements from campaign accounts (e.g. take sporting event tickets from a lobbyist and reimburse them out of the campaign account, circumventing the current law)? If not, then look forward to lobbyists becoming personal ticketmaster agents ... less transparent. But hey, the public doesn't need to be bothered by this as long as they aren't "gifts"...
Powered by Mary Scruggs’ indispensable events calendar:
House 12 candidate Sandy VanWagner - Wine & Cheese - CCDCC HQ, Kansas City.
Changes in Lobbyist Registrations
Jeff Knappen deleted Allergan USA Inc.
Berg for Change - $25,000 from CHIPP Political Account.
Friends of Ernie Trakas - $25,000 from David Humphreys.
Koster for Missouri - $10,000 from Susan Ludeman.
Koster for Missouri - $25,000 from Operating Engineers Local 101.
KCS Rail PAC - $20,000 from Kansas City Southern.
Parson for Missouri - $10,000 from Barbara Hayden.
Parson for Missouri - $10,000 from Menlo Smith.
Vote YES on 3 for Kids - $72,675 from RAI Services Company.
Raise Your Hand for Kids - $9,000 from RAI Services Company.
Committee to Elect Mary Hill - $50,000 from David Humphreys.
Teresa Hensley for Missouri - $25,000 from Eastern Missouri Laborers Educational and Benevolent Fund.
Happy birthday to Jason Hancock, Lou Hamilton, and Stephen Gregali.