Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Election Day

There are the special elections for the three vacant state representative seats, and a smattering of local issues.  But overall no great shakes today.

House 29 – Democrats are expected to retake this seat which has a strong Democratic constituency but had been held by Republican Noel Torpey.  The Democrat is Rory Rowland.

House 36 – This election has some intrigue as Democrat Mary Ann Drape is running as an Independent, potentially splitting the Democratic vote and allowing Republicans a chance for a steal.  I’m not betting on it, but I sure will be watching the returns. This was Kevin McManus’ seat.  The Democratic candidate is Daron McGee; the Republican is Nola Wood.  McGee should win.

House 89 – Republicans are expected to hold John Diehl’s old seat easily.  Dean Plocher is their candidate.


Koster Contra Nixon?

The mighty Jason Rosenbaum got all the gubernatorial candidates on the record on the stadium.  See it here.

Democratic gubernatorial nominee Chris Koster says the legislature should get a vote on the matter… “First, if advocates for the project cannot offer a solution that is revenue positive to the state of Missouri, it should not be considered. If the project is revenue positive to the state, it is important for the legislature during the upcoming general assembly session to have an opportunity to record their views.”


The Reform Battle

The prospect for ethics reform look very dim for the next legislative session.  This, despite, everyone acknowledging that Jefferson City has a culture problem and saying they want to do something about it.

The problem is one person’s solution is another person’s sacred ground.  The only piece which seems to have a chance right now is some kind of cap on gifts from lobbyists.  But the odds that one item can slide through untangled by the others is very low.

Missouri Alliance for Freedom Ryan Johnson is pushing for an end to the revolving door in the legislature. See it here, and see his email below.  But he also draws a line in the sand when it comes to campaign contribution limits or closing the loophole that 501c4s have used to obscure political contributions.

One Republican: These guys pushing ethics reform while using every tactic they can to keep us from passing 501c4 disclosure changes is pissing a lot of people off in the legislature…


MO Freedom’s Shut the Door Email

Three years ago the former Republican Speaker of the Missouri House of Representatives resigned his position and registered as a lobbyist a few weeks later. His firm has become one of the most prominent lobbying firms in the state representing such clients as the AFL-CIO.

His campaign account that donors once gave to in order to advance his political career stayed open until two weeks ago having donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to candidates for public office even though he himself was no long a candidate…

Just this past summer the former Senate President Pro Tem resigned his position early to take a job with another of Missouri’s most prominent lobbying firms leaving his Senate District unrepresented.

A state representative who sponsored ethics reform legislation that would have required lawmakers to wait two years before becoming a lobbyist quit immediately after being reelected to a third term and become a lobbyist….

The former Democratic Senator from Jefferson County resigned early from the Missouri Senate to accept a Cabinet level gubernatorial appointment from Jay Nixon to run Missouri’s Department of Labor and Industrial Relations.

Another Republican state representative left his job early to take a gubernatorial appointment to the Board of Probation and Parole where he still serves….

With the apparent growing bipartisan chorus of voices calling for an end to the revolving door, a ban on lobbyist gifts, and other ethics reforms what could derail it? The answer for anyone who has been around public policy and politics for much time knows the answer to that question – a lot can derail it.

Two things come quickly to mind:

Legislators could decide to go after the freedom of speech of private nonprofit organizations like the National Rifle Association, Pregnancy Resource Centers, and Americans for Prosperity, or Missouri Alliance for Freedom under the misguided façade of transparency.

The Governor and his associated liberal-progressives could attempt an assault on free speech by trying to force a limitation on the amount citizens can contribute to political campaigns of their choice.

Either of these attempts will likely result in strong push-back and gridlock in the Legislature resulting in real ethics reform having to wait yet again…


Simon Law Firm

In the $5K+ contributions, the Simon Law Firm (see their website here) comes in heavy for Chris Koster with a $100K check.  Among their attorneys is Amy Gunn, wife of former PSC Chairman Kevin Gunn,  who is also Jason Kander’s treasurer, and was the 2013 recipient of MATA’s Thomas G Strong award.

This check comes two months after the Simon Law Firm sent $25K to Koster.



Jason Kander makes a cameo in this Politico profile on US Senator Al Franken.  See it here.

Pull Quote: Franken has connections from his status as a celebrity that are now paying off. In 2006, Franken traveled to Afghanistan with the United Services Organization and met a young soldier named Jason Kander, who is now challenging Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.). The two chatted about the encounter during a recent fundraiser Franken held for Kander and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee in California. Still, Kander, who split with Franken and other Democrats on the president’s nuclear deal with Iran, played down the importance of support from national Democrats. 

“Obviously, there are people around the country who want to see a change in Washington,” Kander said in an interview. His comments reflect the fact that in a conservative-leaning state like Missouri, being directly connected to Franken could be as much a liability as a benefit. And Republicans are eager to make the connection.


MU to Hanaway: Cease and Desist

Catherine Hanaway was asked by the University of Missouri to kindly remove their tiger mascot image from her RV.  Rudi Keller has the story.  See it here.

Pull Quote: Nick Maddux, Hanaway's campaign manager, said a supporter donated the RV to the campaign with the logo already in place, and Hanaway decided to keep the tiger to show her support for MU. The RV will be rewrapped, he said. Hanaway tweeted a picture of the RV at 1:34 p.m. Monday showing the distinctive image covering the rear third of the vehicle she dubbed “Tiger One” in a news release. A few hours later, in response to an inquiry from the Tribune, MU spokeswoman Mary Jo Banken wrote in an email that the university does not approve the logo's use by political candidates.


Ferguson Effect at UMSL?

There’s a looming $8 million budget crunch at University of Missouri St. Louis.  Post-Dispatch has the story.  See it here.

Pull Quote: The problem, according to [Tom] George, is that UMSL was expecting a 2 percent enrollment increase this year but got a 4 percent decrease instead… And while university officials have backed off in blaming last year’s unrest in nearby Ferguson as a contributing factor in the enrollment decline, several privately acknowledge that could be a factor in the waning interest among prospective out-of-state students…


Brattin: Get Back to Work, Folks

Rep. Rick Brattin on Facebook… “While I'm happy as a lark that we took the crown, we are the world champions of baseball, to cancel school as a result is absolutely ridiculous!!! Now we all have to scramble to figure out what the heck to do with kids since this crazy thing called a "JOB" takes precedence over a parade.. Not trying to be a Scrooge or anything, but geez, way to set a great example of showing priorities to kids there schools.. I hope I'm not the only one!?”


October Revenues Flattish

Bad budget news as it looks like October’s tax receipts came in mostly flat.  We’ll see what the official numbers are when there’s released today or tomorrow.  But it’s could put a pitch in the second half of the fiscal year if this trend continues.
3 More Endorsement for RYH4K

Raise Your Hand for Kids picked up three more endorsements last week… Beyond Housing, National Council of Jewish Women and City Garden Montessori.


Help Wanted

Sen. Doug Libla seeks Executive Secretary/Executive Administrative Assistant. “This is a highly responsible professional administrative support position in the office of a state Senator. Duties may include conducting research, preparing statistical reports, handling information requests, and performing clerical functions such as preparing correspondence, receiving visitors, arranging conference calls, and scheduling meetings….”  See it here.


The Laclede Group seeks Specialist, Public Presence. “This position’s primary responsibility for coordinating, implementing and analyzing companywide public presence in communities served by The Laclede Group by assisting with the coordination and administrative support associated with the implementation of Laclede’s public presence strategy, including support of community engagement, civic, legislative activities and charitable initiatives supported by The Laclede Group Foundation…”  See it here.


Express Scripts seeks Legislative Specialist.  “Responsible for directing ESI State Government Affairs activities, including: overseeing the legislative and regulatory activities in multiple Midwestern states; coordinating grassroots programs; facilitating grasstops activities for ESI employees; planning and executing ESI employee days at the capitol; managing/hiring local counsel; participating in intergovernmental organizations; collaborating and partnering with ESI internal departments to clarify policy positions and assist in business development…” See it here.


American Heart Association seeks Government Relations Director – Missouri.  “The Government Relations Director serves as the primary representative of the American Heart Association to the assigned state Legislature and relevant state agencies to generate awareness and support for the American Heart Association’s policy agenda. Works with coalitions and partner organizations to build support for American Heart Association policy issues. Integrates advocacy messaging into all other American Heart Association programs/events. Works with local volunteers and staff to develop grassroots support for American Heart Association federal and state legislative agendas and to pursue policy and environmental change at the local level…” See it here.


Lobbyists Registrations

Scott Penman and David Winton added Ball Ventures.

Jim Moody and Chris Moody added Hewlett Packard Enterprise; and deleted Hewlett Packard.

Patrick Sullivan deleted Home Builders Association of St. Louis and Eastern Missouri.

Ben Burkemper deleted Missouri Attorney General’s Office.


$5K+ Contributions

Citizens for Black 2016 - $5,001 from CHIPP Political Account.

Koster for Missouri - $100,000 from The Simon Law Firm P.C.

Progress KC PAC - $50,000 from Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce.

Progress KC PAC - $25,000 from Hallmark Cards Inc.

Schupp for Senate - $10,000 from CHIPP Political Account.

UAW Region 5 Midwest States Political Action Committee (PAC) - $6,000 from UAW Region 5 Exchange Account.



Happy birthdays to Treasurer Clint Zweifel, former Rep. Kevin McManus, Kim Cella, and Emily Waggoner.