Monday, June 13, 2011

Special Session Update

The current talk now has no special session coming anytime soon.  The negotiations on ecodevo, aerotropolis have halted because the principals are out of town. But one source does says that Sen. Brad Lager’s issue have been resolved, a tangible step.


What is more possible is a special session to run concurrently with veto session in September.  That has some nice positives: no extra cost, and a real deadline in the meantime for those trying to make something happen.


Looking to veto session as the new last chance, it’s said that the local control forces are giving the legislature until that point before they give up and start collecting signatures for their statewide initiative.



Those representatives who traveled to Joplin have come away determined to “do something” for the devastated area.  Among the ideas floated: creating an “enterprise” type zone for area.  Doing an economic development bill for Joplin could create the opening needed to pass a larger ecodevo bill.  Who would hold up help for Joplin because they need one more year on sunsets or $10 million more on caps, etc?



Wright-Jones’ Campaign Records Are a Mess

The Post-Dispatch hit Sen. Robin Wright-Jones over the weekend with a story about her confusing and incoherent campaign finance reports.


Reporter Jake Wagman did an admirable job reconstructing what is a mystery when looking at the reports.  But there were unanswerable questions, and he wrote an article with those questions.  Read it Here.


The Mystery

April 2010 report has $95,847 on-hand.  July 2010 report is Limited Activity which means less than $500 raised or spent.  So presumably still at $95k on-hand.  October 2010 report was not filed.  No report due in January 2011.  Now the April 2011 starts with a cash on-hand balance of $14k.  So what happened to the $81,000.  That’s a lot to spend in non-campaign mode.


There are other issues – buying shoes with campaign funds, double billing of phone costs etc.  But the issue is accounting for the money between $95k in April 2010 and $14k in April 2011.


Wright-Jones explains that her treasurer fell ill and they’re working to correct the problem.  Her press release instead of just saying that, takes a more scenic (rambling) route.  (See Below).



The Fall-out

Political enemies are seizing on the news, looking for recruits and will try to take her down in November 2012.  Says one politico: “I think this is a fatal blow… She will likely have opposition in the 2012, and she’ll be beat.”


And as with everything else, a lot depends on the map from redistricting. But definitely put her on the vulnerable list.



Wright-Jones’ Response

Excerpts from Wright-Jones’ response:


Senator Robin Wright-Jones, D-St. Louis, today accused the St. Louis Post-Dispatch of printing a highly misleading story relating to her campaign finance accounts.  The article, authored by reporter Jake Wagman… makes a number of inflammatory assertions…


“As I explained to Mr. Wagman during our interview, I do not “blame” my campaign treasurer – we are both victims of circumstances in this matter.  I have had some issues because my treasurer fell critically ill for several months,” Sen. Wright-Jones said.  “Despite her illness, she attempted to complete the required campaign reports on time but was unable to complete the work.  I then searched for a new treasurer who was familiar with filing ethics reports and found one in late August or early September.  We then proceeded to retrieve and transfer all of the relevant paperwork to the new accountant, and for the past six months we have worked diligently to restore and re-establish pertinent records so that accurate reports could be produced and incomplete filings could be amended.”


Sen. Wright-Jones contends the article glosses over the problems she experienced with late or incomplete filings due to her treasurer’s illness and attempts to infer some type of misappropriation of her campaign funds.  She says Wagman even asked her if she used campaign funds for personal or home expenses…


Sen. Wright-Jones says Wagman misquoted her at various points in the article, despite her efforts to correct the record….  For example, in the bit about the phone payments, I told Jake it was an oversight and it was not intentional.  He quotes me as saying ‘It’s an oversight, to a very large degree.’  That’s not what I said, and his lack of fealty to the facts permeates his article. Even the very last quote in his story is wrong.  I told Jake that ‘Our faith tells us to work toward better perfection because we are not perfect,’ but Jake adds ‘Even if we may not attain it,’ which, again, I never said.”


Sen. Wright-Jones acknowledges some issues in her campaign finance accounts have arisen due to the illness of her treasurer as well as the transition of her senate staff, but says she has been working diligently to correct the problems and to file amended campaign finance reports with the Missouri Ethics Commission…


Sen. Wright-Jones says she is disappointed by the tone of Wagman’s article in her hometown newspaper…  “It’s just a consistent attack on my leadership and my desire to move to the next level,” Sen. Wright-Jones said.  “By casting aspersions and doubting my leadership abilities, Jake’s story is nothing more than hit piece to try to stir things up on a sleepy summer afternoon.  He asked me why voters would support me in the future based on what he was going to publish, and I explained to him that I’m the top performing Democrat in the Missouri Senate.  I have seven bills, resolutions or major amendments to bills currently before the governor...”



More Tucci: Five Prosecutors Running State

Following the letter I wrote about last week, Kim Tucci went on the Mark Reardon show on KMOX and blasted Governor Jay NixonHear it Here.


Select Quotes

“We have no film office. We’re one of two states in the union, I think Montana and us now that doesn’t have a film office.”


“I was with Jay for over twenty years and he told me, ‘Oh Kim when I get elected we’re going to do great things in film.’ Yeah he really showed me.”


“There are five prosecutors that are running the state of Missouri. Five. Jay Nixon was Attorney General.  His chief of staff is John Watson who was assistant attorney general.  His assistants are Jeff Harris and Rex Burlison and another guy (Ted) Ardini… All of them are prosecutors.  When I talked to Jeff, I said ‘I didn’t call you, I called Jay.’  He said ‘Well I’m in charge of finance.’  That’s great. Now we have a prosecutor in charge of finance for the state.”



The Case for Gibby

One veteran observer thinks if/when Sen. Jane Cunningham entered the 2nd Congressional contest, it gives Mike Gibbons a compelling reason to look again at the race.


“He has represented a major chunk of the 2nd since 1992.  That gives him instant credibility and name ID.  Cunningham and Ed Martin split the right-side... Voters in 2nd can’t be excited about a former ambassador… The race is clamoring for someone with a proven track record of success in the legislative arena.”



Romney Does the Ritz

Mitt Romney packed the ballroom at the Ritz last week, wowing several Republicans with his fundraising muscle.  One speculated that it might have been a  million dollar event for the presidential candidate. (The napkin math: 30 tables of 10 seats with tickets at $2,500 each = $750,000).  Seen in the crowd: Sens. Rob Mayer, Tom Dempsey and Jim Lembke.  Auditor Tom Schweich, Rep. Tim Jones, Catherine Hanaway, John Combest, Sam Fox and family, Craig Schnuck, Ray and Ann Wagner, Bill Corrigan, Rich Chrismer, John Hancock


Jim Talent got props as the maestro who helped bring it all together.  He’s Romney’s big dog in the state.



Feedback on Kinder

Lobbyist 1: Kinder not for Sen

I spoke to a GOP consultant who was in the room when a couple of others broached the topic of a Senate run with Peter Kinder. He shot the idea down as quickly as the words left their mouths.


Lobbyist 2: Kinder Undecided

No way on a Senate race.  I think the speculation of Kinder in or out of governor’s race is meaningless at this point.  The reason no one knows yet is because Kinder does not know. He will do a poll in December and if it is realistic he may run. If it is not realistic, measured by Barklage who has a good read on how to assess these things, Kinder will sit tight. Hold the predictions until Thanksgiving and see what the climate is then.




Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States, will be in St. Louis on June 15 at the Ethical Society to promote his new book, “The Bond - Our Kinship with Animals and Our Call to Defend Them” at the Ethical Society of St. Louis. 



Rep. Steve Tilley will likely have endorsements from all 105 Republican state representatives in hand for his Lieutenant Governor’s race.  Look for the phone to start ringing now for senators where it will be a tougher sell for the speaker.



Jackson County Executive Mike Sanders is making calls and raising money for a potential statewide race.  Folks think most likely he’s looking at Secretary of State if Robin Carnahan doesn’t run.



Tweet of the Day

colkoolaid Matthew Michelson

Just dawned on me that I am 30 and pay my taxes. I am now qualified to run for MO Senate.



$5k+ Contributions

Friends of Tilley - $25,000 from Express Scripts, Inc.

Friends of Tilley - $10,000 from MHA.

Teamsters Local Union NO 688 PAC - $10,859 from International Brotherhood of Teamsters DRIVE.

Decline to Sign Committee - $10,000 from Highwoods Realty.

Friends of Peter Kinder - $10,000 from John Brunner.

Friends of Peter Kinder - $10,000 from John Danforth.

MO Drive Fund - $30,000 from DRIVE Committee.

Jay Nixon for Missouri - $13,000 from Pfizer, Inc.

Friends of Tilley - $10,000 from Cornerstone Healthcare Inc.




Happy birthdays to Rep. Rory Ellinger (70), MEDA’s Michelle Galloway, and blue-blood barge magnate Butler Miller (42)