Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Nixon Legacy: Non-Engagement

With Governor Jay Nixon’s term is nearing expiration, some of talk among politicos has moved to “legacy.”  What will we remember of Nixon after the years pass on?

Nixon has had no abundance of supporters during his tenure.  Republicans are naturally antagonistic toward the Democratic governor, and many Democrats felt like Nixon was never much of a team player.

So when the talk of legacy tends to focus on the negative. Ferguson is mentioned, and it’s quite possible – with its national implications – that will be the most memorable portion of his time as governor.  Nixon’s performance before and during the unrest was largely panned.

There are other possible legacies.  One is his strategic non-engagement with the legislature.

More often than not, his interaction with the legislature has been many through his veto pen.

He has both vetoed bills and been overridden in record numbers.

Nixon’s non-engagement does not appear to be have been borne from simple indifference.  Rather it’s the cornerstone of his legislative strategy.  It allows him to avoid being boxed in on a bill, or giving up too much in negotiation.  He can keep his options open, leave his friends and foes a little off balance where he might be on an issue.

And while its effectiveness has waned in the last couple of years, it’s been a pretty useful strategy.

Presumably the next governor, however, will deploy the non-engagement strategy less broadly.  Eric Greitens would have a Republican super-majority, and need to fence it in from going too far to the right that it spoils his higher ambitions.  And Chris Koster has already signaled that he’ll be a more regular presence on the third floor.


Ceselski: Rex Trying to Bankrupt City

In her latest blog post St. Louis City committeewoman Marie Ceselski worries that Rex Sinquefield’s latest initiative petition could have a ruinous impact on the city’s finances.  See the blog post here.

Pull Quote: Rex Sinquefield is loading up the Spring ballots with charter amendments. This is the third initiative petition – with paid signature collectors – in a row…. a proposal to provide tax credits for payment of earnings taxes and exempting anyone making under $50,000 from the earnings tax… It appears the signature gatherers started Friday at the 78th District Re-Vote polling places and then hit the many special events this weekend around the City.  St. Louis City voters just reauthorized the earnings tax last Spring with 72% of the vote… His operatives are throwing everything at the wall in hopes something sticks…


House 112: Butler Hammers Vescovo Over Taxes

Although Rep. Rob Vescovo won the case in court to stay on the ballot, his Democratic challenger Bob Butler is clearly planning to use Vescovo’s delinquent business taxes as a campaign issue.

Here’ his recent email blast…

Friday Missouri State Representative Rob Vescovo testified under oath that he was the sole owner, officer, and director of four businesses which are delinquent in the payment of business personal property and withholding taxes. Vescovo acknowledged that he is the only person that had any responsibility for ensuring his businesses paid taxes, but did not explain why he refuses to pay those taxes.  Every year, tax bills for his four companies are sent to Vescovo's house. When asked what he has done with them, Vescovo testified that they likely ended up "in the trash."  While admittedly responsible for ensuring that his companies satisfied their tax obligations, Mr. Vescovo dodged being disqualified from the November ballot through a loophole, because no taxing authority has assessed any penalty against Vescovo personally….

In 2014

In 2014 Vescovo beat Butler about 60% to 40%.  Democrats are hopefully that they get better turnout in Jefferson County in this presidential cycle, and House 112 is one they’d like to take back.


Politico: Both Side Engage in MO Senate Race

Politico reports that “Senate Democrats are shifting away from traditional battleground states like Ohio and Florida and instead pouring millions into Republican friendly places like North Carolina, Missouri and Indiana, Burgess reports. Senate Democrats’ campaign arm is investing ‘$4.2 million more in North Carolina and $2 million in Missouri, giving the party significant footholds in its efforts to oust Sens. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) and Roy Blunt (R-Mo.).’” See it here.

And Republicans appear to be matching in the ad arms race. “The National Republican Senatorial Committee placed its first, $270,000 ad buy supporting Blunt in St. Louis, the source said, but more ads are on the way. The ad buy comes just days after independent polling for the first time showed Democratic Secretary of State Jason Kander leading Blunt… The Republican source suggested the ads will link Kander to Hillary Clinton, who is losing in Missouri to Donald Trump, according to public polls….” See it here.

And Another Blunt Ad

Here’s a new Roy Blunt ad that hits the above mentioned tried and true theme of tying a Missouri Democrat to the national Democratic Party.  “Missouri can’t risk Clinton/Kander.”  See it here.


Koster’s Rural Ads

Chris Koster released a pair of ads aimed at farming Missouri.  This one is called Until Now, and this one is called Trust.  They have the same background out-of-tune banjo feel and they both call him a fiscal conservative and highlight his NRA endorsement.


Campaign Limits to Ballot

Post-Dispatch’s Kurt Erickson reports that the Supreme Court decided not to hear an appeal on the campaign contributions limits IP.  That means it’ll be on the ballot in November.  It also means that if it passes it will likely be challenged.  See it here.

Pull Quote: The initiative will ask voters in November whether they want to limit contributions to individual candidates to $2,600 and limit contributions to a political party to $25,000. The caps would go into effect next year.  The court’s decision comes at a time when candidates are raking in massive campaign contributions in the run-up to the Nov. 8 election. In September alone, there have been more than a dozen contributions of over $100,000, each of which is helping fuel spending on advertising, consultants, polls and yard signs…


MEC: OK to Buy the Car With Campaign Funds

The Missouri Ethics Commission issued a formal advisory opinion that it’s alright for candidates to use campaign funds to purchase a car – so long as it is not used for personal uses.  Several candidates have done this before, but now it’s officially legit.  See it here.


The Hits Keep Coming

One long-time observer… “Mizzou wonders why average Missourians are exasperated with the state's flagship land-grant public research university?... Now getting attention: Mizzou researchers classify the types of drunks…” See it here.


Stokes on Levee

Former Show Me Institute analyst Dave Stokes was quoted in the Wall Street Journal article “A Missouri Town Saved From Flood Faces Questions About Its Levee”

Pull Quote: Experts blame the height of a levee in suburban St. Louis for flooding in nearby communities.  A survey commissioned recently by the Great Rivers Habitat Alliance, a nonprofit that supports floodplain conservation over building levees, found the levee along the Meramec River in Valley Park is as high as 443 feet above sea level.

Critics say the levee should have been built to a maximum height of about 435 feet, which is the height of a 100-year flood as calculated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, plus a 3-foot safety factor known as freeboard... “I think the people who suffered damage because of this improperly high levee deserve answers,” said David Stokes, executive director of the alliance. “This isn’t just a few inches too high.”


Auditor Action

Missouri State Auditor Nicole Galloway released the results of a cybersecurity audit of the Orchard Farm Public School District in St. Charles County. The audit was conducted as part of a series of Cyber Aware School Audits.  See it here.

Galloway also released an audit of Putnam County.  It received a “Fair” rating.  That’s one step above “Poor.”  See it here.  Among the problems: The Sheriff has not adequately segregated accounting duties and does not perform documented supervisory reviews of accounting and bank records; The Prosecuting Attorney has not adequately segregated accounting duties and does not perform documented supervisory reviews of some accounting and bank records; The Prosecuting Attorney also does not ensure restitution and fees are timely disbursed to applicable parties, and certain records and property are not properly secured and safeguarded; The County Assessor has not adequately segregated accounting duties and does not  perform  documented supervisory reviews of some accounting and bank records…

Putnam County is represented by Sen. Dan Hegeman and Rep. Nate Walker.



The proponents for Amendment 4 are on Twitter… https://twitter.com/NoMOSalesTaxes.


According to LinkedIn, John Pelzer is now Senior Market Specialist with Wallstreet Group “specializing in Long Term Care and Medicare Supplement products.”


Here’s an ad contract for a TV buy from the NRA’s PAC in Missouri.


Missouri Ethic Commission dismissed a complaint against Patricia Martin.  The allegations were quite varied including that Martin took gravel that the village owned to repair a friend’s driveway.  See it here.


St. Louis Regional Chamber Awards were given last night.  Champion Award Winners: Sen. Bob Dixon, Reps. Mike Colona, Jim Hansen, Mike Kelley, Jeremy LaFaver, Sharon Pace, Caleb Rowden, and Anne Zerr; Advocate Award Winners: Sens. Doug Libla, Kurt Schaefer, and Reps. Tom Flanigan and Todd Richardson; Catalyst Award Winners: Reps. Justin Alferman and Shamed Dogan; and Legacy Award Winners: Sens. Joe Keaveny and Eric Schmitt.


Dem AG candidate Teresa Hensley will announce the endorsement of the 6,500 member Missouri Fraternal Order of Police today…


Post-Dispatch reports on the pending court case concerning whether medical marijuana will get on the ballot or not.  Read it here.


Help Wanted

House seeks Accountant.  “The House of Representatives is accepting applications/resumes for the position of Accountant I in the House Administration Division. This is a professional position involving expense accounts, vendor payments, and other accounts payable and financial reporting in compliance with agency, state and federal guidelines. Applicants should have related experience and knowledge of state accounting and travel regulations. Knowledge of the state SAM II Financial system preferred. Position requires excellent skills in the areas of verbal and written communication, organization, and customer service. Proficiency in Microsoft Office also required…”  See the ad here.


Today’s Events

Powered by Mary Scruggs’ indispensable events calendar:

Speaker Todd Richardson Golf – Ozark Ridge Golf Course – Poplar Bluff.

Sen. Mike Cunningham and Rep. Robert Cornejo Reception – Kirberg Car Barn – St. Louis – 6PM.

Sen. Scott Sifton Reception – Husch Blackwell LLP – Clayton – 5PM.

Rep. Don Rone Steak Night – Portageville


$5K+ Contributions

Koster for Missouri - $25,000 from Elissa Holman.

Greitens for Missouri - $10,000 from Peter deSilva.

Greitens for Missouri - $5,001 from Beth Berra.

MO Petroleum Marketers + Convenience Store Assoc PAC - $140,000 from Cheyenne International LLC.

Emily’s List Missouri - $10,000 from Emily’s List.

Emily’s List Missouri - $20,000 from Emily’s List.

Parson for Missouri - $15,000 from Lewis & Clark Northern Missouri Forum.

Teresa Hensley for Missouri - $25,000 from James Nutter.

UAW Region 5 PAC - $100,000 from UAW V-CAP.

Missouri Realtors PAC Inc - $29,995 from National Association of REALTORS.

Missouri Realtors PAC Inc - $53,300 from National Association of REALTORS.

Firefighters for MO Governor 2016 - $5,500 from Professional Fire Fighters of Eastern Missouri Local 2665 PAC.

Firefighters for MO Governor 2016 - $7,000 from Missouri State Council of Fire Fighters PAC.

Greitens for Missouri - $250,000 from Michael Shannon.

Greitens for Missouri - $750,000 from Republican Governors Association Missouri.

Greitens for Missouri - $50,000 from Joe Craft.

Greitens for Missouri - $10,000 from Craig Porter.

Greitens for Missouri - $5,001 from Hannegan Homestead Holdings LLC.

Greitens for Missouri - $5,001 from J Michael Hannegan.

Greitens for Missouri - $7,500 from Nathan McKean.

Koster for Missouri - $10,000 from William Gautreaux.

Missourians for Mike Cierpiot - $10,000 from Missourians for Excellence in Government.