Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Rex Reloads

Rex Sinquefield, Missouri’s largest political donor in history, deposited three separate seven-figure checks into campaign committees his funds on Friday.  According to the Missouri Ethics Commission he contributed a little over $2.8 million into his relatively new Great St. Louis committee, $2.5 million to Missourians for Excellence in Government, and a bit more than $1.5 million into his Missouri Club for Growth PAC.

For those keeping score at home that’s more than $6.8 million.

Sinquefield’s giving dwarfs the other huge Missouri donors.

For context, before this $6.8 million drop Sinquefield’s contributions this year included about $2 million to the campaign to eliminate the earning tax in St. Louis and Kansas City, a $250K check to the Missouri Club for Growth, and $500K to Republican state treasurer candidate Eric Schmitt

And between 2014 and 2015, Sinquefield contributed around $11 million to his political causes and candidates.

The Humphreys family by contrast has been aggressive lately on the giving front, but has only contributed about $1.9 million this year – less than a third of what Sinquefiled did in one day,  Friday.  And in the previous two years, the Humphreys have given about $1.6 million – a faction of Sinquefield’s giving.  Of course we’re still talking millions of dollars; Humphreys certainly has an impact (See below).

Who are the Likely $inquefield Recipients?

This money will likely flow to some of his established candidates.  Those are Catherine Hanaway (governor), Bev Randles (lieutenant governor), Kurt Schaefer (attorney general), and Will Kraus (secretary of state).  Eric Schmitt now without a primary opponent maybe is n’t a pressing priority.

In the past Missourians for Excellence have playing in the St. Louis mayoral race, so we will probably see some action there.

Missouri Club for Growth usually backs up their endorsements in state House and state Senate race with money.

And Great St. Louis is thought to be a vehicle for structural reform in the St. Louis region.  Better Together has spent years making the case that the many municipalities of St. Louis County are a living example of dysfunctional governance, so if there is a proposal brought before the people, it could become the campaign committee for such an endeavor.



Some of this money may find its way to opposing the Realtors’ initiative petition to prohibit the expansion of the sales tax.  That IP is considered a threat to the long-term Sinquefieldian utopia because it’s assumed the only way to run a government without an income tax is to have a more robust sales tax.

However there is already an established Sinquefield committee, Grow Missouri, with a cash balance of a little over $600K.  That committee originally was established to help push for the income tax cut (remember the blimp), but in March the committee filed an amendment with the Missouri Ethics Commission showing that it was opposing the constitutional change proposed by the Realtors.


Big Kinder Day

Now I know it sounds like I’m writing about small potatoes after all that millions of dollars talk from Sinquefield, but a different pretty important contribution occurred on Friday when David Humphreys sent $250K to Peter Kinder.

Humphreys had been a long-time support of the lieutenant governor until five years ago when Kinder was hit with a series of stories about patronizing a strip club.  Although Kinder is single, and strip clubs are legal, it didn’t fit with some social conservatives.  Humphreys was apparently among them, and he publicly split with Kinder.

Now it seems there has been a rapprochement. And it couldn’t come at a better time for Kinder who leads the polls – nine weeks until primary day, folks – but has lacked the financial patrons his opponents have.  Catherine Hanaway has Sinquefield; Eric Greitens has coastal capitalists; John Brunner has himself.

Kinder now has recorded $270K in large checks so far this quarter.  More than his rivals: Greitens $165K; Brunner $95K and Hanaway $35K.  And though he still trails in overall money, it shores up his finances and allows him to think differently about his sprint down the stretch.


Someone’s Polling Tobacco Tax

From a tipster taking notes, someone appears to be in the field with a poll about the Raise Your Hand for Kids tobacco tax proposal…

Among the questions:

What’s a higher priority, early childhood education or lower taxes/

The Ferguson Commission said we must make early childhood education a priority – agree or disagree.

How credible are these organization/individuals: American Lung Association, Missouri School Board Association, Parents as Teachers, Raise Your Hand for Kids, NAACP, Missouri Right to Life, Missouri Cures, American Cancer Society.

Read mission statement of RYH4K.  If you knew RYH4K sold out to Big Tobacco for $2 million would still support the group?

Arguments Against, make you more likely or less likely: Opposed by respected groups like ACS; attacks public schools – gives taxpayer money to religious schools; provides public funding for abortions – in some instances; group took 95% of funding from Big Tobacco; largest tax increase in MO history; gives $375M to private board with no public oversight; expands Obamacare; punishes low income people; a market share grab by Big Tobacco; prohibits MO doctors from doing research; money won’t go where they say – instead will fund pet projects.

Arguments in Favor, make you more or less likely: Investments in early childhood is the best thing we can do for our kids; highest smoking rate in country – will discourage young people from smoking; if ballot measure passed, Missourians would get the tax cut they were promised; $374M towards ECE without adding fees; fund early childhood and children get lifelong benefits and grow up to be responsible citizens – saving taxpayer money in the future

What disease are you most afraid of? HIV; Diabetes; Cancer; Alzheimer’s; Stroke.



Lobbyists Registrations

Mark Farnen added Strategists LLC, and Hagan Scholarship Foundation.

Elizabeth Lauber deleted Lynne Flowers, Flowers Energy Consulting LLC.

Luann Madsen added Missouri Probate and Associate Circuit Judges Association, and deleted Missouri Associate Circuit Judge Voluntary Fund.


$5K+ Contributions

Missourians for Kinder - $250,000 from David Humphreys.

Missourians for Excellence in Government - $2,500,000 from Rex and Jeanne Sinquefield.

Missouri Club for Growth Political Action Committee - $1,501,406 from Rex Sinqeufield.

Great St. Louis - $2,806,207 from Rex Sinquefield.

Missouri Farm Bureau Federation State PAC - $9,724 from MO Farm Bureau Farm PAC.

Jeff Harris for Circuit Judge - $5,001 from Barry Aycock.