Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Q&A #1: What the Answer to a Lot of Questions?

Short answer: Money.

 

As we enter the second month of Governor Eric Greitens being embroiled in on-going scandals/investigations, Dems are generally self-assured in the knowledge that if the governor survives this term, his political future has been truncated.

They assume he would face a primary if he considered running for a second term; and they assume that national aspirations have been torpedoed by the basement affair.

However there’s evidence that Greitens has retained the confidence of his high-dollar donor base.  And if that’s the case, a political comeback – at least at the state level – is not terribly improbable.

In the aftermath of the hairdresser affair scandal, there was a rumor that Greitens made a million-dollar ask of his mega-donors to re-load the resources of his political non-profit.  Obviously, there’s no public accounting of these donations so the rumors are just that.

But the non-profit has subsequently embarked on a million-dollar ad campaign to recast the governor’s image away from the adultery news to “tax-cutter” and “tax reformer.”  It would seem that the rumor was true.

Greitens successfully cultivated a new class of donors to Missouri politics: out-of-state venture capitals and private equity magnates who are liquid writing six and seven-figure checks not because they care if Missouri has Blue Alert, but because they’re “investing” in a possible President Greitens.

If Greitens keeps their belief in his future, then he has a future.  Because a tidal wave of money can change the trajectory of a floundering career or campaign.

And

In today’s large contributions (below), Richard Uihlein bucks up $500K to help the RTW fight.  He gave $495,000 to Greitens in 2016, and $100,000 to Liberty Alliance in 2017.

 

Gov’s Office Mostly Off Confide

KCStar reports (see it here): On Tuesday, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch revealed that the governor’s office revised its record retention policy on Jan. 17. The policy now includes a provision stating that “no staff member may use any self-destructing messaging application to conduct public business, whether it be on a state-issued or personal device.”

When The Star first reported use of Confide, the governor had an account connected to his personal cell phone, as did his chief of staff, deputy chief of staff, director of cabinet affairs, legislative director, deputy director of legislative affairs, policy adviser and press secretary.

Last month, most of those accounts appeared to have been deleted and were no longer listed on the app as being connected to the staff members’ phone numbers.

Greitens still has an account…

 

Buying the Execution Drugs

Buzzfeed reports on the “cloak-and-dagger” exercises the state of Missouri performs to find and buy its execution drugs.  See it here.

Pull Quote: Procuring execution drugs has become almost impossible, as major pharmaceutical companies stopped making them or refused to provide them for capital punishment. Missouri itself faced a crisis in early 2014, when the previous pharmacy it had been using was exposed in the press and stopped providing the state with drugs. Scrambling, Missouri found a new pharmacy and stockpiled the lethal injection drug pentobarbital, enabling it to set a record pace for executions, scheduling one a month for more than a year.

To hide the identity of the new pharmacy, the state has taken extraordinary steps. It uses a code name for the pharmacy in its official documents. Only a handful of state employees know the real name. The state fought at least six lawsuits to stop death row inmates and the press from knowing the pharmacy’s identity. Even the way Missouri buys and collects the drugs is cloak-and-dagger: The state sends a high-ranking corrections officer to a clandestine meeting with a company representative, exchanging an envelope full of cash for vials of pentobarbital. Since 2014, Missouri has spent more than $135,000 in such drug deals…

 

Follow-Up on SHI International

I am told by a hallway source closely following the state technology contracts that World Wide Technology lost the PC part of their state contracts, but has retained the Cisco re-selling portion.

SHI International took over the PC Prime Vendor portion.

 

STL Chamber Decries “Watered Down” Computer Science

The St. Louis Regional Chamber is pushing the inclusion of computer science as a core graduating credit.

From their blog (see it here):

We were disappointed to see the provision allowing students to count computer science as a core graduation credit was removed from pending legislation during the committee process. Groups testifying in favor of this provision included a wide range of business groups across the state, school administrators, school boards, teachers unions and Code.org, a national non-profit coalition that partners with Amazon, Facebook, Microsoft, Apple, Google and over 500 companies advocating for more exposure to computer science in education.

Passing legislation to get more schools to offer computer science simply isn’t enough to be competitive. The vast majority of students who choose to take computer science as an elective course are white males, which is why other states are allowing students the option to count the courses as a core graduation credit in math or science. This will result in exposing more women and minorities to computer science, opening up new worlds of possibility and transforming lives and communities.

The House of Representatives should add this option for students back to HB 1623 if it truly wants to pass meaningful computer science legislation that will connect employers with a qualified workforce.

 

Bits

Yesterday I wrote that Emma González, one of the survivor students leading the march on Washington, had seen her Twitter followers increase from 8,000 followers to 107,000 followers in one day.  This morning, she has 205,000 followers…

 

Jason Kander continues to visit Iowa and New Hampshire.  See it here.

 

The Missouri Ethics Commission dismissed complaints against Thomas Schneider (see it here) Susan McVey (see it here).

 

eMailbag on Waters III Ed Ed

I wish Hank Waters III had read Sen. Andrew Koenig’s bill rather than just believe what it’s critics say: 1. You don’t get the tax credit for donating to a private school. You get the tax credit by donating to a scholarship granting organization; 2. You cannot get a dedication for the same money for which you get a credit. DOR, prohibits that and the bill prohibits that.

 

eMailbag on McCaskill Tax Ad

The ad says she supported a middle-class tax cut and opposed the one with over 80% going to the “rich”. The problem is she voted against the tax cut voters are now seeing in their paychecks and she said wouldn’t help her…. She can spin it all she wants, but the tax bill’s popularity will be based on people’s actual pocketbook, not their perception of someone else’s…

 

New Committees

John Black formed a candidate committee (Committee To Elect John Black) to run for House 137 as a Republican.

Fix MO HVAC-R was formed.  It’s a political action committee. Its treasurer is Robert Hoffmann.

Marshall Works formed a candidate committee (Marshall Works For You Committee To Elect) to run for House 138 as a Republican.

James Williams formed a candidate committee (James Williams For Mo House Seat #54) to run for House 54 as a Democrat.

 

Help Wanted

Jill Schupp for State Senator seeks Volunteer Coordinator.  “The Volunteer Coordinator will work closely with the Field Director to identify, recruit and manage hundreds of volunteers to help with various campaign activities… This full-time position starts April 1, 2018 with an end date of November 15, 2018…”

Jill Schupp for State Senator seeks Relationship Director.  “Reporting to the Field Director, the Relationship Director will identify, manage and grow one-to-one voter contact programs within the campaign…”

Jill Schupp for State Senator seeks Voter Contact Director.  “The Voter Contact Director is in charge of getting the campaign’s key messages out through direct voter contact…”

Apply to Jim Ross at jeross1313@gmail.com.

 

Missouri Veterans Commission seeks General Counsel.  “The responsibilities of General Counsel include: Evaluating and providing counsel regarding Commission goals, policies, procedures and work processes to ensure such activities comply with applicable laws, policies, and regulations; Research issues and provide legal advice to management and staff; Judge the merits of major court cases filed against or on behalf of the Commission and work with managers to define a strategic defense… Review and analyze current federal and state legislation and fiscal notes; drafting proposed legislation and regulations as requested by the Executive Director….”  See it here.

 

Lobbyists Registrations

Jewell Patek added IGT and its affiliates; and deleted Polsinelli.

Nolan Sharkey added NARAL-Pro Choice MO.

William Waller added Arch City Defenders.

 

$5K+ Contributions

Missouri Democratic State Committee - $25,000 from Joseph Shepard.

Missouri Democratic State Committee - $25,000 from Claire McCaskill.

Freedom to Work - $500,000 from Richard Uihlein.

Stevenson for Judge - $15,000 from Bryan Stevenson.

 

Birthdays

Happy birthdays to Rep. Donna Baringer, Craig Unruh, Jo Mannies, Harry Kennedy, and B.J. Marsh.