Monday, April 9, 2018

The Tremors Before the Earthquake

Last week I wrote this about the upcoming House Investigative Committee’s report: There are basically two different theories.  The first is that, even without new allegations, the report will be extremely damaging because the details of the affair, or the alleged slap, will paint a picture in a way that the abstract accusation don’t.  It will cause a re-valuation on the part of those who have been in the “wait for the full facts” camp.

The second theory is that the report will be anti-climatic without new information.  That is, this is all baked into cake.  As painful reading as it will be, it won’t amount to a change in political landscape, and it’s one more investigation the governor’s team can put behind him. 

With the release of the report now days away, and rumors about its contents drenching the capitol, there’s been a huge shift.  The vast majority of observers are backing the first theory.  They think the details that will come out will prove devastating to the governor’s chances of political survival.

This explains why the governor’s legal team has now sent multiple letters seeking to delay the report, and yesterday filed a motion in St. Louis claiming that “information that supports the Defendant's innocence has been withheld from him – as well as from the Grand Jury and the House Committee.

The clock hand has once again returned to desperation hour in this saga.  And we’ll likely see more maneuvering in the next 60 hours… pressure on Speaker Todd Richardson and Chairman Jay Barnes, stories to undermine the hairdresser’s account, pre-spinning the report as one-sided etc.

The alternative some suggest is that the governor could try to negotiate its non-release by resigning, and then “try to cut a deal with Kim Gardner allowing him to plead guilty to misdemeanor invasion of privacy and receive probation or a suspended sentence, allow Hawley to shut down his investigation and refocus on Claire McCaskill, and hope the Feds don’t come knocking.”  But the assessment from this same reader is that “those who know him well doubt he’ll resign. The ones who know him well and like him say it’s because he’s a born fighter, the guy who literally wrote the book on resilience. Those who know him well and don't like him say it’s because he's a megalomaniac incapable of shame…”


Question of the Day

How can you know a report you haven’t seen will contain incorrect information? – Chuck Hatfield.


Q&A #1: Why put so many things into SB1102?

Short answer: So you only need one PQ.


Senate Floor Leader Mike Kehoe’s SB1102 is expected to be voted out of committee this week.  The bill (see a summary here) has become like Santa Claus’ bag stuffed to the point of bursting with a tort reform wish-list.

It deals with – among of things – limiting fees for private attorneys working for the state; allows not wearing a seat belt safety belt to reduce damage awards; changes to Merchandising Practices Act; arbitration agreement changes; joinder and venue changes; interpleader actions; changes to the process for punitive damages; a time limit for people to bring a claim on defective products; changes in joint liability; changes to products liability; and changes punitive damages in medical malpractice and lowers the cap for potential awards.

Putting it all in one bill might make it too hard for some senators – including Republicans – to digest.  However the upside is that if you’re trying to limit the “trauma” of a PQ, and you can isolate the Dems on this, you can knock it all out with one vote.


Historic Tax Credit Cuts

Various bills weakening the Missouri Historic Tax Credit program are receiving hearings this week. The most aggressive is EcoDevo Chair Holly Rehder’s House Committee Bill 18.  It slashes the current $140 million annual lid on Missouri Historic Tax Credits down to $50 million.

Advocates point out that “because $4 in up-front spending is required to gain the $1 – or 20 percent – tax credit, Rehder’s bill would mean LOSING $360 million in up-front private investment.”

From materials being circulated by advocates for protecting the tax credits: “When Missouri Historic Tax Credits are slashed, the up-front private investments and the accompanying significant economic impacts are immediately lost. This is penny-wise and pound-foolish.”


Upon Monday adjournment, the House General Laws Committee has a hearing on Sen. Dan Hegeman’s Senate-passed SB590, which cuts the $140 million Historic Tax Credits annual cap to $90 million.


Fake Deregulation Continues

The governor’s team, insistent on hitting their quota of reducing regulations by a third, is still proposing superficial changes.  I have written about this several times (starting six months ago here), but apparently, it’s continuing.   Once again they are pretending to get rid of the “restrictive language” with no actual chance in the regulation.


Eigel’s Meeting With Governor on Tax Reform

Sen. Bill Eigel says that “Greitens has made no decision to veto anything and pushed back against the idea that he had.  He specifically told me he expects the final version of what comes out of the House and Senate to be something he will sign… His preference is not to do transportation funding on this bill, but understands the House and Senate want to do so.  If transportation items end up being the only disagreement he has with the final bill, he told me he doubts that would cause him to veto the entire bill…”


Waiting on Gubby Appts

It’s not just Board of Education and Missouri Ethics Commission that are lacking gubernatorial appointments.  Others languish as well.  For example last week, St. Louis City Mayor Lyda Krewson and St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger sent Governor Eric Greitens a letter (see it here) asking that he make appointments to the Bi-State Development Agency.

Last year we sent you several nominees as required by law. In the interest if public safety we would appreciate it if you would select new board members as soon as possible…”

Tipster says that this latest letter is a follow-up from the original request sent August 5 of last year.


Rehder on Today

Rep. Holly Rehder made an appearance on the Today show to discuss the legislation to raise the age for marriage in Missouri.  See it here.



From a reader… “David Humphreys was in St. Louis over the weekend, as he and his wife were the Platinum sponsors for the Ferguson Youth Initiative gala. Not many politicians there, which was weird considering this is THE major youth charity for that area.”


Press release: Victory Enterprises (VE) has added Steve Michael and Joe Lakin to the company's ownership team as of April 1. Founded in 1997, VE is a comprehensive media and management solution for candidates, causes and companies nationwide.


eMailbag on Senate 17 Poll

Before ads hit the airwaves, Corlew seems to be in a statistical tie. That's not bad for a guy who represents only 1,000 people in the district (almost all of his district is in Platte County). Lauren Arthur represent smore than 30,000 residents. Considering the resources that will be behind Corlew, this is a decent position given the national climate and his moderate record…


Candidate Withdrawals

Tim Stefanski (Democrat) withdrew from running for House 111.


New Committees

James Lowman formed a candidate committee (James Lowman 4 Missouri) to run for House 30 as a Republican.

Ryan Wescoat formed a candidate committee (Friends Of Ryan Wescoat) to run for Cass County Auditor as a Republican.

Brenda Shields formed a candidate committee (Missourians For Shields) to run for House 11 as a Republican.

Rob O’Brian formed a candidate committee (Rob O'brian For State Senate Committee) to run for Senate 32 as a Republican.

Allen Chandler formed a candidate committee (Committee To Elect Allen Chandler Pike County Clerk Tim Jenkins Treasurer) to run for Pike County Clerk as a Republican.

Cathy Richards formed a candidate committee (Cathy Richards For State Representative) to run for House 46 as a Republican.


Amended Committees

Nick Marshall amended his committee to run for Platte County Prosecuting Attorney. See it here.

Don Phillips amended his committee to run statewide in 2020. See it here.

Delus Johnson amended his committee to run in 2022, office unspecified. See it here.

Colleen Washinger amended her committee to run for St. Louis County Executive.  See it here.


This Week’s Events


Annual Gun Rights Rally Day at the capitol.

American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) day at the Capitol.

Charity Softball Tourney – Binder Park – 5:30PM.


Redistricting: Past, Present and Future, hosted by Federalist Society Jefferson City Lawyers Chapter - Avenue HQ, 621 E Capitol Ave, Jefferson City- 4PM.

Campaign Kick-Off for Jim Ripley (Dem, House 34) - Llywelyn’s Pub, Lees Summit – 5PM.

Fundraiser for LG Mike Parson – Jefferson City County Club – 5:30PM.

Campaign Kick-off for Rep. Tommie Pierson Jr. – Twillman House, St. Louis – 6PM.


Campaign Kick-off for Eric Burlison (GOP, Senate 20) - Bair's All-American Sports Grill, Nixa – 8:30AM.


Help Wanted

Federal Reserve of Kansas City seeks Media and Government Relations Specialist.  “The Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City is seeking a media and external relations specialist who can coordinate and support the Bank’s engagement with the news media and other audiences, including representatives from local, state and federal governments; coordinate and support the Bank’s government relations activities within the Missouri and Kansas region; and work as part of a team to identify opportunities to promote the Bank and its impact across its seven-state District and the broader public…” See it here.


Lobbyists Registrations

Stacy Reliford added Pfizer Inc.


$5K+ Contributions

Lincoln PAC - $10,000 from MO Majority PAC.

MO Republican Attorneys for Civil Justice PAC - $7,000 from Sanders Law.

CL PAC - $40,000 from David Steward.

MO Beverage PAC - $7,173 from Heartland Coca Cola.

Missourians for Research and Innovation - $15,000 from James McDonnell III.

We Are Missouri - $581,000 from Missouri AFL-CIO General Fund.

Becker for Prosecutor - $20,000 from Matthew Becker.

Missourians for Patient Care - $25,000 from Relax PAC.

Blessing for City Council at Large - $7,625 from Jeremiah Reeves.

MACFPD Campaign Committee - $10,000 from Cooper Steel.

Missourians for Patient Care - $50,015 from             Missourians for Patient Care.



Happy birthdays to Matt Lieberman, and Casey Wasser.