Friday, July 24, 2015

LeVota Under Seige

A quick Google search shows 65 new News stories this morning about Sen. Paul LeVota and allegations of sexual harassment.  That’s on top of yesterday 100+ stories.  Still it hasn’t leapt and gone national yet like Diehl’s did.

This is a clear groundswell mounting, aided by the second intern’s accusations revealed in the Kansas City Star.  Both Governor Jay Nixon and Senator Claire McCaskill issued statements nudging LeVota to move himself out of the news spotlight by stepping down.

Pro Tem Tom Dempsey moved swiftly: "Since the release of yesterday's Workplace Harassment Report, new information has come to light which bears further investigation by the Senate. Under the Senate Rules, I am referring these allegations to the Senate Rules and Ethics Committee for deliberation, investigation, and recommendations to the full Senate on this matter…”

The “new information” appears to refer to the second intern.

Word is that if the second intern’s accusations are deemed credible, and LeVota doesn’t resign, leadership in the Senate would be ready to act by veto session in September.

Dempsey, with a year left in his legislative career, is giving the impression that this is a legacy type issue.  He will leave the building better than he found it – if it’s at all within his power.

 

Nixon Statement

“Even as facts continue to emerge, the allegations against Sen. LeVota to date are deeply troubling and raise serious questions about his ability to continue to serve his constituents. Sexual harassment must not be tolerated."

 

McCaskill Statement

“Two young women have come forward with serious allegations against Senator Paul LeVota, some of which have been corroborated by evidence of text messages. I believe Senator LeVota needs to seriously consider whether he can continue to serve.”

 

eMailbag

Reader 1: How sad is it that the gutsiest leaders in the legislature are these 19 year-old girls that are willing to go public?

 

Reader 2: Compare how the Senate and House each have handled the intern allegations/sex scandal. Senate deserves props for putting together an open, reasonable, good government response. They brought in outside consul and are releasing all documentation to the public. Compare that to the House response so far.

 

Reader 3: Turns out some major props are due for Sen. Jason Holsman.  He saved the Dems from having LeVota as Minority Leader.  He put the Senate over regional alliances and turns out he couldn’t have been more right.

 

Kelley Aide Charged

The Turner Report blog has a news item that a legislative aide to Rep. Mike Kelley has been charged with choking a woman.  See it here.  What is going on folks!?!

 

McNary to Return?

I have expected that Governor Jay Nixon will leave John Diehl’s House seat empty until 2016, depriving the Republicans of that vote in override attempts.

Some though are eying a possible LeVota resignation.  They don’t think that Nixon would leave that Senate seat empty.  And the thinking is that if he calls a special election for LeVota, he’d have to call a special for other vacancies as well.

For the Diehl seat, former Rep. Cole McNary is prepping to run again.  McNary left the legislature early to run for Treasurer in 2012.   He has strong name ID in the district, and his clean cut image would probably resonate with district voters after the Diehl sexting mess.

Another possible candidate is Diehl’s committee treasurer Dean Plocher.  However given that there’s now apparently an ethics complaint related to Diehl contributions to a closed committee, and when you google his name you get Diehl-related results, that notion might be ill-fated.

If a special is called, the committeepeople will choose the candidate.  Though with his name ID, McNary could “pull a McCreery” and run as an Independent regardless of their decision, and likely win.

I expect we’ll be seeing McNary back in the building by January 2017 if not sooner.
Hawley In

After many months of rumors, Josh Hawley finally pulled the trigger and formed a committee to run for attorney general as a Republican.  He joins Sen. Kurt Schaefer.

Hawley is expected to try to out-flank Schaefer’s right-side, though many question his ability to gain traction and mount an effective campaign.

As one lobbyist texted me: “This poor guy is going to have his life ripped apart in his first time ever political experience… I mean that anyone who ever runs statewide has to expect their entire past to be on display, and it can be unfair and brutal.  And if you’ve never even run a city council race you can’t even begin to anticipate what it’s like.”

And Dem candidate Jake Zimmerman “welcomed” Hawley to the race… “His effort to deny women the health care services they pay for through their employers is fundamentally unacceptable. His position on marriage equality is simply wrong; his position on environmental protection would jeopardize the health of the people of our state. Josh Hawley and I have a different view of where the next Attorney General should stand on critical public issues, and

I look forward to a vigorous debate. This is what elections are about.”

 

Kehoe Out

With more solid sourcing that Sen. Mike Kehoe is indeed taking a pass on a 2016 statewide race, together with Peter Kinder crossing the Rubicon, there seems to be an opening for a Republican to jump into the lieutenant governor’s race and have a pretty good chance to take the nomination from political neophyte Bev Randles.  But who will make the move first?  And what are they waiting for?

 

Crazy Rumor: Rowden Dropping Floor Leader Bid

File Under Crazy Rumor (that I believe): Rep. Caleb Rowden may be considering dropping his bid to become floor leader.  If true, that would be welcome news to Rep. Mike Cierpiot as some had indicated that the race was tightening over the last month, and also welcome news to Rep. Robert Cornejo as some of those votes will shift to him.  Cierpiot is still considered the favorite.

Rowden, in this scenario, is gaming out other possible futures including a Senate 19 bid – if Rep. Caleb Jones declines to enter.  Or also a possible Boone Count Commissioner race…

Whenever I hear these sort of things I always think to myself…. “We’ll see….”

 

Help Wanted

University of Missouri-Kansas City seeks Equal Opportunity Investigator/Deputy Title IX Coordinator.  “This position is responsible for responding to formal complaints as promptly as possible, preparing an investigative plan and timeline, identifying and interviewing witnesses, and gathering and securing relevant evidence. The Investigator acts as an impartial party in the investigation and prepares a detailed report of the findings, which are provided to the Title IX Coordinator…. Salary $45,600 – $60,000…” See the ad here.

 

Lobbyists Registrations

Rodney Gray added Osborn Wind Energy LLC.

 

$5K+ Contributions

Citizens for Steve Stenger - $10,000 from McBride & Son Properties Inc.

 

Birthdays

Happy birthdays to Senator Claire McCaskill (62), and Betsy AuBuchon (40).

Saturday: former Sen. Charlie Shields (56), Jay Atkins, Sarah Greek Erdos, and St. Louis City Aldermwoman Megan-Ellyia Green.

Sunday: Rep. Donna Lichtenegger (65), Urban League’s Michael McMillan (44).