Thursday, October 30, 2014

Koster Follow-Up

In the KC Star (my thanks to the peerless John Combest for the link), Attorney General Chris Koster “denied any wrongdoing and slammed the Times’ reporting.

“This Attorney General’s office has consistently protected Missouri consumers from fraud, regardless of the identity of those responsible,” Koster said in a statement released to the media Wednesday. He later added that the Times article “misrepresents the facts, distorting events to create an appearance of impropriety where none exists.”

Koster’s denial did little to silence his critics. They argue that regardless of whether campaign cash influenced his decisions, they still create the appearance of pay-to-play politics in the attorney general’s office.

Read it here.


The New York Times article is damning not for any quid-pro-quo – there’s no evidence of that – but more the image of the attorney general smoozing, cozy and happily at home among the lobbyists of the big corporations he supposed to be guarding against.

And in that regard, the hit on Koster is hard for any prominent politician to make.  In our current system everyone’s in bed with everyone.  Not trying to be cynical, just sort of the way it is.

For example when Speaker Tim Jones announced he’d look at what he could do in his final days as speaker to investigate the situation, I got a text from a lobbyist with an eye-rolling tone, suggesting that Jones’ hearing could be held at CC’s Steakhouse, a nod to Jones’ reportedly favorite place to dine with lobbyists.


Senate 34: Schaaf Attacks Obamacare

In a new commercial Sen. Rob Schaaf goes on the offensive.  Not against his opponent, but against those trying to implement ObamaCare and tax increases.  See it here.

The MOScout poll a few weeks ago showed Schaaf with a comfy ten-point lead, but since then the Democratic challenger Bob Stuber launch aggressive ads.  And – see the large contributions going into the Stuber campaign, over $60K today.  That’s an indication that they think things are tightening…


Senate 24:

The Missouri Times hosted a debate between Rep. Jill Schupp and Jay AshcroftSee it here. The candidates seem ultra prepared, sometimes seemingly reading their answers from prep notes.  No real fireworks in person considering the negative tone the race has taken.


House 89: Calzone Create Fliers

The anti-Diehl conservatives who have been going door-to-door in House 89 are printing fliers and mailers from Ron Calzone’s MOLeadershipProject.  See examples here, here and here.  And then they insert their own paid for.  Presumably the individuals doing this haven’t spent more than $500, triggering a reporting requirement from the Missouri Ethics Commission.  However as Calzone never registers to lobby perhaps they are invoking a 1st Amendment defense against MEC regulations….


Supply Side Rock and Roll?

After losing in the Republican primary, Jasha McQueen is trying to stay relevant for her St. Louis County Assessor bid in… 2018.  She takes a page from Tom Schweich and pens a song and video.  It’s called “Taxes Suck.”  See it here.


Freedom PAC Infusion

Stan Herzog, long allied with the Jeff Roe-Brad Lager wing of the Missouri Republican Party sent $85K into the Freedom PAC (nee Citizens Against Forever Tax).  Be interesting to see where that money ends up…



Congresswoman Ann Wagner says she won’t run for NRCC Chair.  See the Politico story here.


US economy grew at a 3.5% annual rate last quarter, but interestingly the sustained, if unsteady, macroeconomic growth hasn’t taken the issue of the economy off the table of this election.  While you no longer hear the crazed Tea Party cry about deficits etc, middle class angst is still real.


Help Wanted

Missouri Protection & Advocacy Services seeks Staff Attorney.  “Staff Attorney with administrative hearing or trial experience wanted for Kansas City office of Missouri Protection and Advocacy Services (Mo P&A), a non-profit, statewide, public interest law firm representing persons with disabilities. Will handle the legal cases from initial client meeting through drafting of the complaint, discovery, and individual and systemic litigation in state and federal court, and administrative tribunals… Must be willing and able to travel statewide for case work and training. Areas of practice include disability-related legal rights. No billable hours. Salary range is $35,000 to $50,000, depending on experience… Individuals with disabilities and minorities are encouraged to apply.”  See the ad here.


Missouri Office of Attorney General seeks Assistant Attorney General.  “The Office of Attorney General has an opening in its Springfield office for an Assistant Attorney General in the Labor Division. The attorney will primarily practice workers’ compensation defense for claims filed by state employees and will also defend the State of Missouri's Second Injury Fund.”  See the ad here.


Missouri State Public Defender seeks Trial Attorney/Assistant Public Defender.

“Duties to include pre-trial and trial preparation; litigating all aspects of the case through disposition at the trial court level; promoting and protecting the best interest of the client at all times; maintaining client contact by telephone, appointments, or institutional visits; keeping client apprised of investigations, negotiations, and court rulings; appearing at regularly scheduled court dockets and all appearances concerning assigned caseload; drafting motions and pleadings….  Fulton and Poplar Bluff are accepting applications through November 5.”  See the ad here.


Fundraising Calendar

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

Rep. Shelley Keeney Golf – Southern Oaks Country Club, Fredericktown.

Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal Halloween Reception – 85 Bellerive Acres, St. Louis – 5:30-8 p.m.


$5K+ Contributions

Schupp for Senate - $13,159 from Missouri Democratic State Committee.

RSLC-Missouri PAC - $12,800 from Republican State Leadership Committee.

Mayfield for Missouri - $10,000 from Missouri Democratic Party.

Citizens to Elect John Wright - $9,000 from John Wright.

Margo McNeil for State Representative - $7,486 from Missouri Democratic State Committee.

Missouri Senate Campaign Committee - $10,000 from Dealers Interested in Government.

Missouri Senate Campaign Committee - $10,000 from Roy Pfautch.

Freedom PAC - $85,000 from Herzog Contracting Corp.

MO Republican Party - $25,000 from Axiom Strategies.

Stuber for State Senator Committee - $10,000 from Missouri State Democratic Committee.

Stuber for State Senator Committee - $26,000 from Moderates for Missouri.

Stuber for State Senator Committee - $31,000 from Missouri State Democratic Committee.

Committee to Elect Gary Myers - $11,300 from Gary Myers.

Ashcroft for Missouri - $30,000 from Missouri Senate Campaign Committee.

MO Democratic State Committee - $50,000 from Claire McCaskill.

Curtis For MO - $10,000 from Citizens For Maria Chappelle-Nadal.

House Republican Campaign Committee Inc - $6,000 from Friends for Jeff Messenger.


Happy Birthday

Happy birthdays to Rep. Mark Parkinson (42), lobbyist Kyna Iman (51), and former St. Louis mayor Vince Schoemehl (68).