Thursday, February 5, 2015

Keller Joins Walker Campaign

Washington Examiner reports that Gregg Keller has joined Scott Walker’s presidential campaign.  Word is that he’s been on for a few weeks, ahead of this announcement. Read the article here.

Pull Quote: “Gregg Keller and Gary Marx, who both have deep ties to national conservative groups and have worked previously on high-profile presidential campaigns, will serve as senior advisers overseeing national conservative outreach… Both Keller and Marx worked for Mitt Romney’s 2008 presidential campaign: Keller as national coalitions director, and Marx as director of conservative outreach.”


Baby Steps on Ethics

The legislature continued to make baby steps on the issue of ethics.  The House congratulated itself in banning meals paid for by lobbyists at committee hearings. Bravo!

And the Senate perfected a remarkably weak ethics bill.  It does practically nothing.

It creates a two-year wait for legislators before they can register as lobbyists.  But the provision doesn’t go into effect until folks who are sworn in 2017!  In other words everyone in the chamber can still make their plans without worrying about the ethical concern they have for those who will come after them.

And it bans lobbyists paying for out-of-state travel.  However it writes in a loophole that non-profits can pay for the out-of-state trips.  Considering how the non-profits have been abused to hide campaign contributions, is there any reason to think they won’t be used similarly for this circumvent this as well?

Bill sponsor Sen. Ron Richard said that the idea of putting the legislators’ personal financial disclosure online was shelved because people can trot over to the Missouri Ethics Commission office and ask to see the forms one-by-one if they’re concerned about a conflict of interest.  The information is “too sensitive” to put online? Huh?  As someone who has trotted over to MEC a few times, I have yet to see anything “too sensitive” in those disclosures.

Sen. Scott Sifton’s ban on lobbyists gifts was voted down on a half-hearted voice vote. Sifton’s own Aye vote barely lifted to the gallery.  No one asked for a roll call.

Sen. Paul LeVota’s attempt to include campaign finance limits was ruled out of order, beyond the scope of a bill dealing with ethics.  Why would taking $25,000 check or a $50,000 check raise any concern of ethics or conflicts of interest, right?

Pro Tem Tom Dempsey promised that his ruling wouldn’t preclude future debate on the issue.

Perhaps the fear that doing nothing would be embarrassing has led the Senate to adopt a low-low-low bar on its ethics bill.  But I think this is pretty embarrassing too.


Curtis Making Himself Vulnerable?

Rep. Courtney Curtis’ right to work bill has a hearing yesterday.  In the halls one lobbyist shook his head wondering whether Curtis had thought this out correctly.

Word is that Berkley Mayor and former Rep. Ted Hoskins has set his sights on Curtis, and plans to find a challenger for him next cycle.  Curtis was unopposed then.  Curtis has about $1,800 in his campaign account, but it might not be too easy to start building that.  Especially considering there was a room full of union folks yesterday who might help fund a Hoskins-picked challenger.  We’ll see…


Starner to Grow Missouri

Kristian Starner who worked with Hemphill and Associates before doing a stint in Colorado is back in the building.  She’s joined the Grow Missouri team.  Grow Missouri originally started in 2013 as a coalition to support the legislature’s tax cut agenda.  It was funded with a $1.8 million infusion that year from Rex Sinquefield.  The mission of the organization has since broadened, and recently it’s been paying for polling on a variety of issues – transportation funding, St. Louis City-County merger, municipal traffic fine reform.


Wolfe: I Didn’t Dog Sinquefield

University of Missouri System President Tim Wolfe sent a letter saying that the Post-Dispatch’s editorial quoting him frustrated that the legislature listens too much to “one man,” Rex Sinquefield, were more their thoughts than his.  Here’s his letter:


Dear Missouri 100 member,

Thanks to those of you who participated in this past weekend’s event. It was the most highly attended and the feedback was very positive.

At our meeting, Tri-Chair Dudley McCarter requested that I share with each of you an editorial than ran this weekend in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, based on a meeting I had with the editorial board of the Post on Thursday, January 29. Before you read the editorial, however, I wanted to take a moment to put it into context.

My goal with the Post was to emphasize how critical it is for our state to prioritize education. If we don’t invest in education we will end up at the bottom, which is unacceptable. I did give examples of very disturbing trends. The editorial does cover the points I intended to make, but towards the end of the piece, the criticisms of the Governor, one of our very generous Missouri 100 members – Jeanne Sinquefield, and our legislators were not mine but those of the Post.

The fact is, I want nothing more than to partner with our legislators, Governor, the Sinquefields and you to strengthen higher education. The issues before us do not offer easy answers. But the work begins with frank conversations involving everyone about where we want the state to go and what our priorities are.

The time is now for this conversation to happen and I know I can count on you to join us in our crusade.


Tim Wolfe, President

University of Missouri System



Post-Dispatch hits Catherine Hanaway on her “sexual permissiveness” speech.  See it here.


Minority Leader Jake Hummel symbolically filed a bill to expand Medicaid yesterday.  See it here.


Sen. Eric Schmitt’s bill to limit the amount a municipality can “earn” from traffic fines was voted out of his Senate committee yesterday.


Dave Spence’s Ferguson 1000 will meet next week, February 9 at 6:30PM at the Ferguson Heights Church of Christ.  From the press release: A HUGE thank you goes out to Nancy McCarthy and Donna King from Probation and Parole and Cheryl Frazier from Academy Banking. Through their knowledge and level of expertise in their respective fields, we were able to identify similarities in the populations we serve, as well as the value each of us can add to the other… At our next meeting we welcome Chris Lozano. His presentation will focus on "creating a new middle class" with a focus on the loss of manufacturing jobs in St. Louis, resulting in economic despair and the impact on problems of crime, substance abuse, illiteracy and illegitimacy…”


New Committees

The Missouri Realtors PAC Inc was formed.  Sam Licklider is its treasurer.

Katheryn Shields filed a campaign committee to run for Councilperson in Kansas City.  It is non-partisan.


Lobbyist Registrations

Kristian Starner added Grow Missouri.

Danny O’Neill deleted Missouri Community Health Foundation, and Missouri Primary Care Association.

Ann Brand deleted Missouri Community College Association

Any Blunt and Jay Reichard deleted Computerized Vehicle Registration.

Emmy McClelland deleted St. Louis Children’s Hospital.


$5K+ Contributions

MO State Council of Fire Fighters PAC - $7,139 from Missouri State Council of Fire Fighters.


Happy Birthday

Happy birthdays to Rep. Allen Andrews (48), and former Rep. Steve Hobbs (55).