Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Now A Grand Jury

AP reports that St. Louis City Circuit Attorney Kim Gardener has convened a grand jury, presumably related to possible crimes committed by Governor Eric Greitens during his affair.  See it here.

Pull Quote: The man whose then-wife had an affair with Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens has been subpoenaed to testify before a St. Louis grand jury, the man’s attorney said Monday. “It’s been stepped up a notch,” attorney Al Watkins said. “It means a grand jury is seated and is hearing evidence about the investigation against Gov. Greitens.” He declined to say when his client will testify… A spokeswoman for the St. Louis circuit attorney’s office declined to confirm or deny if a grand jury is investigating…

One observer sums up where things stand… “The fear for Greitens is they give the woman immunity and force her to testify. [Though] if he really did nothing wrong he has nothing to worry about…”


Q&A #1: What’s Next?

Short answer: The thing is, we really don’t know.


There seem to be so many loose ends and threads to Greitens’ ethical problems, it’s hard to know if things can be contained.  The dark money non-profit, the Confide, the tax returns, the inaugural donors.  Much of it stems from the Us against Them mentality.  Bending the rules on each of these fronts is OK because we’re “shaking things up.”  But it’s like no one has a moral compass so say “Hey it’s not good government to hide our donors, and not retain our records.”

The latest example is found at the end of the KMOV story about the grand jury.  See it here.

“The governor is represented by a private attorney in both this matter and in a separate lawsuit involving his use of the texting app called Confide. A spokesperson for the governor says that no public funds are being used for the governor's defense in either issue. In fact, the law firm is working pro bono.”

Folks are aghast at this.  They think it’s unbelievable that the law firm wouldn’t represent companies that do business with the state.  Forget the legal issues – such as Chuck Hatfield pointed out on Twitter looking at whether it’s a taxable event for the governor – the possible conflicts of interest are ridiculous.

One MOScouter texted me: Lol now he's gonna take what will likely be a seven-figure legal defense as a gift, after spending two years calling legislators corrupt for taking a chicken sandwich.

Another: Legal defense funds usually only work for garden variety staff and not the governor. You have to suck it up borrow money or whatever.  So many bad things can happen.  And while he easily could be okay they haven’t shown the highest level of competence.


Hinderliter in ICU


Many of us have been privileged to know Charlie Hinderliter from his work on political campaigns, involvement in the community, or through his love of civics.  Charlie is currently in the ICU with complications from the flu and is fighting hard to recover.  We ask that you include Charlie in your prayers and thoughts.  If you have the ability to help out financially, his family has set up a YouCaring fund for him at https://www.youcaring.com/charliehinderliter-1089427


Heat on Hawley?

USAToday reports on concerns with the Hawley campaign, brought a bit more into focus recently with the “second look” that Congresswoman Ann Wagner is said to be taking.  See it here.

Pull Quote: But Republicans now seem to be a bit nervous about Hawley’s campaign. “If Hawley doesn’t gear it up and get with it, he’ll not beat her,” said former Sen. Christopher “Kit” Bond, a top Missouri Republican. “I think a lot of people who want to see Hawley elected (are) wishing he’d get to work, doing fundraising and getting out and campaigning actively.”

Kyle Plotkin, Hawley's campaign manager, sharply disputed the suggestion that the attorney general is not mounting a strong Senate challenge. "Josh raised the most of any Republican challenger to an incumbent across the country this last quarter," Plotkin said, adding that Hawley also had slightly more money in the bank than the average GOP Senate challenger at the end of the last quarter….


Driving the Day

Senate Ways and Means Committee at 8AM may offer some clarity on the next step the Senate is willing to take on tax reform.  I’m hearing a lot of skeptics that this session – with the tough budget situation and all the distractions – has the capacity to tackle such a big lift.


12:30PM – A presser in defense of NAFTA will be broadcasted live from House Hearing Room 2 in the Capitol.  (Call in number is (718) 819-1710, Pin # 995-5447)

Participants will include: Former State Representative Casey Guernsey, spokesperson for Americans for Farmers and Families – Missouri; Sen. Dan Hegeman – sponsor of SCR 39, urging Congress and the President to continue, strengthen and present the North American Free Trade Agremeent; Rep. Sonya Anderson – sponsor of HCR 82, a companion bill to the senate concurrent resolution; Dave Drennan, Executive Director of the Missouri Dairy Association;    Scott Hays of Monroe City, Member of the Missouri Pork Producers; and Nathan White, a row crop and cattle farmer and former President of Ray County Farm Bureau.


MCN-Peters-Dunn Accusations

It all happens on Twitter nowadays.  Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal tweets that “Former state Rep. @RandyDDunn witnessed Joshua Peters inappropriately touching me and calling me out of my name. Dunn chose to remain silent to protect his pal. #ShameOnYou #MeToo”

And Rep. Randy Dunn replies “Sen. Chappell Nadal, I will not stand for you slandering my name. As you know there was an investigation and I told the investigators exactly what I witnessed. Harassment is a serious thing and not something I would ever take lightly. Stop lying on me!”



In a story which has echoes of the AG’s on-going Confide investigation, Washington Post reports (see it here) “White House lawyers have been reminding President Trump’s staff not to use encrypted messaging apps for official government business as the administration seeks to dismiss a lawsuit accusing it of violating federal records laws… [D]eputy counsel Stefan C. Passantino told staffers to use only White House email for work communications and not any unofficial platforms such as smartphone apps, texts and private emails, according to several people in attendance…”


Sen. Jason Holsman and Sen. Jake Hummel swapped committees with Holsy going to Health and Pensions and Hummel taking Veterans and Military Affairs.


New Committees

Adam Schwadron formed a candidate committee (Friends of Adam Schwadron) to run for St. Charles County Director of Election as a Republican.

Sara Lampe formed a candidate committee (Sara Lampe For Greene County) to run for Greene County Presiding Commissioner as a Democrat. Lampe is a former state representative.

Southern Missouri Conservative Fund was formed.  It’s a PAC.  Its treasurer is James Murphy, Sen. Paul Wieland’s chief of staff.

Matthew Becker formed a candidate committee (Becker For Prosecutor) to run for Franklin County Prosecuting Attorney as a Republican


eMailbag: In Praise of Dungan

Judy Dungan may have advocated for small people but her victories were big which include the elimination of the CHIP waiting period, adding Pre-K to the foundation formula and the elimination of Missouri’s ban on evaluating child care providers for quality…”


eMailbag on Lincoln Days

Courtland Sykes was there. Dude looks crazy as hell…”


Lobbyists Registrations

Andy Blunt, and Chris Moody added Kansas City Southern Railway, Missouri Alliance for Home Car, and Trilogy Integrated Resources Inc.

Chris Moody added Concentra, Dell Technologies Inc, Tenaska, and Bayer US LLC.

Jay Reichard added Tenaska, and Kansas City Southern Railway.

Angela Schulte added Tenaska, Kansas City Southern Railway, Johnson & Johnson Services Inc., Missouri County Collectors Association, Missouri Primary Care Association, Missouri Alliance for Home Care, St. Louis Apartment Association, and St. Louis Blues.

Ginger Steinmetz added Missouri Coalition of Community Mental Health Centers, Tenaska, Lathrop & Gage LLP, Kansas City Southern Railway, and Johnson & Johnson Services Inc.; and deleted BNSF Railway Company.

Noel Torpey added Conservation Federation of Missouri, Concentra, Johnson & Johnson Services Inc., CHC Strategies, Missouri Alliance for Home Care, Kansas City Southern Railway, Public School Retirement System, and A.T. Still University.

Elizabeth Ridler, Joshua Collins, Richard Cowan, Matthew Muir, and Cindy Mills added Coalition Against Bigger Trucks.

Linda Rallo added KidsWin Missouri, and Alliance for Childhood Education DBA AlignED; and deleted Alliance For Childhood Education.

Nikolas Nartowicz added Americans United for Separation of Church and State.

Dina Ryan added Citigroup Washington Inc; and deleted Citigroup Management Corp.

Charles Burhan deleted Liberty Mutual Insurance.


$5K+ Contributions

Regional Progress PAC - $7,500 from Stone Leyton & Gershman.

Missouri State Assessors Association PAC - $12,016 from Missouri State Assessors Association (Legislative).

Lyda Krewson for Mayor - $10,000 from Richard Destefane.

Lyda Krewson for Mayor - $10,000 from Sam Fox.

Independent Physicians PAC - $25,000 from Signature Medical Group.

We Are Missouri - $10,000 from United Food & Commercial Workers Union Local 27.