Friday, June 27, 2014

AHC Upholds Most MEC Fines on Wright Jones

Former state senator Robin Wright Jones was fined $229,964 by the Administrative Hearing Commission.   It stems from a boat-load of campaign finance violations when she was a sitting senator.  The Missouri Ethics Commission initially fined her $271,580 in May of 2013.  She appealed and though the AHC gave her some relief, they upheld the bulk of the findings and fines.

 

One place that ACH sided with Wright Jones was allowing her use of campaign funds to buy clothes.

 

The MEC provided this Commission with evidence of food and clothing expenditures and simply argued that these were personal, based upon the dates they were made.  The MEC honed in, for example, on one of the campaign finance reports’ disclosure of a clothing purchase described as “campaign clothing” in the amount of $1,664.11 at a shop called Distinctions. This purchase was made in August 2009, while Wright-Jones’ previous election took place in November 2008, and the next election in which she would be a candidate would not occur until August 2012.  When called by the MEC as a witness at the hearing for the purpose of conducting cross-examination on this expenditure, Wright-Jones declined to testify...

 

Petitioners’ expert witness Charles Bratkowski testified that a person in Wright-Jones’ shoes, in her case an incumbent Missouri Senator, is always campaigning.  It was his testimony that campaign activity never stops between elections and that candidates such as Wright-Jones routinely attend meetings and other events in her legislative district between elections for the purpose of staying connected to people there.  As a former member of the Missouri House, he credibly testified that he would attend over 20 ward meetings in his district every month and that Wright-Jones’ senate district was much larger, meaning there were more wards and therefore more ward meetings to attend for purposes directly relating to campaigning for office.  It is entirely possible that Wright-Jones purchased clothing to appear at and support various functions and organizations in her home district, or to entertain constituents between elections, simply because she was an incumbent Senator and intended to run for re-election in the future...

 

The ACH followed the MEC’s practice of telling parties if they 10% of the fines – roughly $23K in Wright Jones’ case – within 90 days and stay out of trouble, they can forgo paying the other 90%.

 

 

Source: Atkins Making Calls

Former state representative Bert Atkins is making calls to potential supporters and donors saying that he will run as an Independent in November.   He would be challenging incumbent Democratic Rep. Keith English in House 68.

 

While Atkins faces an uphill battle – English beat him straight-up two years ago; it’s hard to educate Democratic voters that they need to choose the “real” Democrat who’s running as an Independent; some endorsements have already occurred – this is a legitimate challenge, and it may succeed.  That’s because there is a lot of anger – still – against English for abandoning his caucus.  The Florissant area where the district is located is fertile territory for a good ground game; and one source says that English has been mentioned as a potential mayoral candidate for the City of Florissant, therefore he has more knives out for him than he might otherwise.

 

There are precedents for successful Independent campaigns.  Though not many.  Denny Meredith from the bootheel originally ran as an Independent.  And more recently Tracy McCreery who won a special election in 2011 as an Independent.

 

 

Budget Bit

Republicans growl that Governor Jay Nixon’s reasoning for his withholds don’t hold water because none of the tax cuts and the tax exemptions that the legislature has passed have gone into effect yet.

 

 

MOScout Primary Guide

The first part of the MOScout Primary Guide is up this morning in the Special Reports. See it here.  It is a PDF file (93 pages) which may be printed out, downloaded etc.

 

It is a look at every contested Republican House primary.  It has a few holes but pretty much has pictures of each candidate, brief biographies, links to their web pages, maps of the districts with partisan analysis and the latest fundraising numbers as well as my early guess at who will win. This is – like my whole life – a work in progress.  It will be updated after the July quarter with a final forecast of winners.  Feel free to call/email/text any comments, questions, feedback (314-255-5210).

 

The Democratic House primary report should be finished by Monday, followed by the Senate primary report.

 

 

Jockeying for GOP Committeewoman Spot

Ahead of Saturday’s Republican State Party meeting to elect a new national committeewoman, emails were flying…

 

First, Trish Vincent endorsed Susie Eckelkamp, seemingly in part because she can afford it…

 

Dear State Committee Members:

 

We will be electing a new National Committeewoman on Saturday at the State Committee meeting in Columbia to represent our State at RNC meetings as well as events around the state and country.

 

Some may think it would be great to travel to DC and other states, but those trips are not paid by MRP, the Committeeman and woman have to pay those expenses out of their own pockets.  They pay for their own airfare, hotel, meals and other miscellaneous expenses associated with each trip.  For a year of service to MRP and Missouri as National Committeewoman, expenses could be $10,000 or more annually.  I know many of you know this, but I wanted to send this out so everyone understands the commitment monetarily to this position.

 

Additionally, the National Committeewoman should assist in fundraising for the party as well as make their own personal contributions.  I know for a fact that Susie has been contributing to MRP for years. 

 

Susie Eckelkamp has worked in Republican politics since she was a teenager.  I personally worked with her during the Bush/Quayle years as she did advance for the Vice President.  Susie is no novice to local, state or national politics or policies.  We need someone like Susie that can hit the ground running to represent us. 

 

My hope is that you vote for Susie Eckelkamp to represent us as our next National Committeewoman.

 

Trish Vincent

MRP Vice Chair

 

She was admonished for this by another member, Heather Coil

 

Trish,

 

I would like to state, for the record, that I find it extremely inappropriate for the Vice Chairwoman to be endorsing ANY candidate in this race. At our last meeting, it was stated that since the primaries were coming up, it was inappropriate for us to use our titles to endorse candidates. I feel that the elected office holders in the MO GOP should be held to the same standard as the State Committee.

 

Obviously any candidate who is running for this position knows the financial responsibilities that it entails.

 

Sincerely,

 

Heather Coil

MO GOP State Committeewoman

5th District

 

 

Wagner Moving Up

Congresswoman Ann Wagner was named a senior deputy whip.  This is the result of Eric Cantor’s demise, and the ensuing political dominoes.  Wagner backed Congressman Steve Scalise’s bid for Majority Whip.  Scalise, in turn, appointed the senior deputy whips.

 

Post-Dispatch’s has the story here.

 

 

White House Interns With MO Connection

The White House Internship Program announced today the participants for the Summer 2014 session. Here are new interns with a Missouri connection…

 

Leslie Bruce – Hometown: Kansas City, MO; Vanderbilt University, TN

Gidon Feen – Hometown: St. Louis, MO; The George Washington University, DC

Clifton Luber – Hometown: Camdenton, MO; United States Naval Academy, MD

Jacob Metz – Homestown: San Antonio, TX; Washington University in St. Louis, MO

 

 

Bits

Politico runs an overview of Rex Sinquefield’s various forays into Missouri politics.  See it here.

 

 

US Senator Claire McCaskill is preparing to take aim at cable and satellite companies… From her press release earlier this week: “Frustrated with your Cable or Satellite Bill? McCaskill Wants to Hear from You. Chairman of Consumer Protection panel, Senator solicits personal stories and tips from Missouri consumers as she lays the groundwork for a new federal law aimed at cable, satellite, other pay-TV billing practices…”

 

 

Big checks as we near the quarter’s close (See $5K+ below)… Bob Onder in Senate 2 took in $25K from Stan Herzog and $25K from Brad LagerPaul Wieland in Senate 22 got a $150K infusion from the Republican senators’ campaign committee… and of course the transportation sales tax group keeps adding to their war-chest.

 

 

Fundraising Calendar

Today’s fundraising events from Mary Scruggs’ indispensable events calendar:

Rep. Dave Schatz Golf – Sullivan Country Club.

Reps. Dean Dohrman and Stanley Cox Golf – Indian Foothills Golf Course, Marshall.

Rep. Elaine Gannon Golf – Terre du Lac Country Club, Bonne Terre.

 

Saturday’s events

Rep. Donna Pfautsch Trap Shoot – Lake Lotawana Sportsman’s Club.

Rep. Jill Schupp Brunch – 709 Champeix, Creve Coeur.

 

 

$5K+ Contributions

Wieland Now - $150,000 from Missouri Senate Campaign Committee.

Friends of Diehl - $12,000 from RAI.

Missourians for Safe Transportation & New Jobs Inc – $10,000 from The Monarch Cement Company.

Missourians for Safe Transportation & New Jobs Inc – $25,000 from Central Plains Cement LLC.

Missourians for Safe Transportation & New Jobs Inc – $10,000 from Ash Grove Cement Company.

Missourians for Safe Transportation & New Jobs Inc – $20,000 from Continental Cement Co LLC.

Missourians for Safe Transportation & New Jobs Inc – $17,500 from Pace Construction Company.

Missourians for Safe Transportation & New Jobs Inc – $50,000 from Massman Construction Co.

Committee for Quality Healthcare - $10,000 from Venture Financial Services.

Onder for Missouri - $25,000 from Stanley Herzog.

Onder for Missouri - $25,000 from Citizens for Brad Lager.

 

 

Happy Birthday

Happy birthdays to former Rep. Bob Hilgemann (64), MO Lotto’s May Sheve Reardon (the big 5-0), and Ross Branson.

 

Saturday: Fairy godmother Nancy Rice, and Ben DeClue.

 

Sunday: former Sen. Tim Green (51).