Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Greitens Will Face Jury

See the Post-Dispatch report on yesterday’s hearing on Governor Eric Greitens’ criminal case here.

The biggest takeaway is that the governor will face a jury trial.  The Jeff City consensus (we’re not talking legal minds here): this is bad news for the governor.

Folks don’t think the governor will take the stand.  They imagine average Missourians sitting in a jury booth will then assume he has something to hide, and it will weaken his case. We’ll see…

 

While most saw it as a day of victories for St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner, one source sympathetic to the governor says: “there is one thing looming that was clear in court and [Gardner] must be worried about it.  Judge Rex Burlison, point blank, asked Robert Dierker if there is ‘any evidence of transmittal of the photo.’  There was an extremely long and awkward pause by Dierker who eventually said there is evidence of ‘capability’ of transmittal, but no evidence of transmittal… She has nothing…”

Also the defense will be taking the deposition of the hairdresser before the House issues its report.

A different observer thinks this is where the action is… “The deposition is taken under oath. Legal Team Greitens will know her sworn account of events when they leave the room, soon to alert P.R. and lobbying team Greitens as well as the embattled governor… That is a moment of truth and realism for Eric Greitens. If she tells the same stories she related in the recordings, it takes matters to a new level… Chairman Jay Barnes promises transcripts to accompany the report, which is due to be turned in by Sunday, April 8. The transcripts may be redacted, but the account of the [affair] will presumably be included.

So we will have two sworn accounts. How closely will they track? Team Greitens will be looking for any discrepancy, detail or word to discredit her, which is another high-wire act - tearing apart the words of a woman who surely wishes none of this has become public.

All of this will force Greitens to evaluate where he stands and where he is going. If he digs in and continues the fight, his administration and his life are consumed through his trial now set for May 14, the start of the final week of the legislative session.  Buckle up for a rocky ride….”

 

Q&A#1: What’s Greitens’ Best Case Scenario?

Short answer: A series of long-shot bets.

 

Yesterday I did a quick outline of what we know about the various investigations.  (There’s a lot we don’t know.  For example, while we know the FBI has questioned some building denizens, we don’t know if it’s a full-blown investigation.) Given the multiple investigations, there’s no easy way back to normalcy for the governor.  His best case now appears to be this string of unlikely events…

April 8: House Special Investigative Committee issues its report to little reaction because the public has become numb to constant stream of scandals and revelations.

May 14: Trial begins.  It’s short; no big new revelations occur; and the governor is acquitted.

Gardner: Her office’s other investigations are closed without filing any new charges, and no new headlines.

Mission Continues Investigations: Despite apparent evidence to the contrary, investigators find no nefarious activity on the part of the governor’s campaign, just an honest mistake or misunderstanding.

Nothing New: No new scandals emerge, or damaging facts come to light with non-profits, dark money groups, or other personal failings.

 

If this “best case scenario” emerges against all reasonable probability, the Republican Party still enters the summer with a politically damaged governor as they try to defend right to work, staunch their losses in the legislature, and take out Claire McCaskill.

This is one reason why one lobbyist with Republican leanings stopped me in the halls yesterday to say the word “slaughter” is appropriate to describe what waits for Republicans this November.

 

Filing Bits

Today is the deadline, but like many others Rep. Cora Faith Walker filed yesterday.  Despite speculation to the contrary, Walker filed for re-election – House 74.  The Senate 14 Democratic primary remains a three-way race.

 

Conventional wisdom says: don’t wait for the last day because you never know what might happen (wake up to a dead car battery etc).  Dems continued to show up at the Secretary of State’s office yesterday as they have all month.  There’s clearly enthusiasm among Dems, and folks want to be in the surf if a big wave comes.

 

Following up on yesterday’s piece about Rep. Crystal Quade exploring a senate race: I am reminded that today is not the absolute deadline for her to make a decision.  The current Democratic candidate, Charlie Norr, can withdraw and create a new window for her.  Also, note more money coming into the PAC (Lincoln PAC) supporting Senate 30’s Republican candidate Lincoln Hough.  Don’t be surprised if you see a CrystalPAC coming soon….

 

Follow-Up on Budget Bits

Yesterday I wrote that the House didn’t feel much pressure from the governor’s office as they deep-sixed a number of the second-floor priorities from the budget.  Two theories were advanced by a House source to explain the relative lack of engagement.  First, perhaps they’re holding their fire and planning to work the Senate hard.  Second, it’s a result of the distractions of the governor’s scandal.  The guess is that it’s #2.

 

Hinderliter Update

St. Louis Realtors lobbyist Charlie Hinderliter gives a health update on Facebook: After 58 days in the hospital at Mercy I have now been sprung and am at a rehabilitation facility. Thank you to the excellent staff at Mercy who took such good care of me. From the nurses and doctors to the house keepers, they did a great job. Now I have to rebuild my strength and skills so I can get back on with my life.

 

Bits

In the “new committees” below, there’s a new PAC, Fluoride-Free Springfield, pushing to remove fluoride from the Springfield water system.  See the website here.

 

The Supreme Court of Missouri has scheduled oral argument next week for “Grain Belt Express Clean Line LLC; Missouri Joint Municipal Electric Utility Commission; and Missouri Landowners Alliance v. Public Service Commission, an appeal involving a challenge to the denial of a certificate to authorize an interstate electrical transmission line across eight counties in northern Missouri.”

 

The “Keep Dark Money Dark” movement lost a battle yesterday.  Politico reports (see it here) that “a judge has rejected a mystery conservative donor’s legal bid to maintain the secrecy surrounding $1.7 million donated to a Super PAC that was active on behalf of Republican candidates in the 2012 election. In a ruling on Friday, U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson dismissed a lawsuit filed last December aimed at blocking disclosure of information in Federal Election Commission records about the activities of the Now or Never PAC, which spent a total of about $8 million backing candidates such as Todd Akin, a Senate nominee in Missouri. A trust and trustee involved in funneling $1.7 million to the PAC argued in the suit that disclosure of their identities would invade their privacy…”

 

New Candidate Filings

Mollie Kristen Freebairn filed to run for Senate 6 as a Democrat.

Carolyn McGowan filed to run for Senate 32 as a Democrat.

Mik Chester filed to run for House 9 as a Republican.

Sandy Van Wagner filed to run for House 12 as a Democrat.

Mitch Weber filed to run for House 13 as a Democrat.

  1. Ranen Bechthold filed to run for House 15 to run as a Republican.

Ed Lockwood filed to run for House 43 as a Republican.

Janet Kester filed to run for House 63 as a Democrat.

Paula Brown filed to run for House 70 as a Democrat.

Cora Faith Walker filed to run for House 74 as a Democrat.

Marissa Brown filed to run for House 76 as a Democrat.

Reign Harris filed to run for House 79 as a Democrat.

Erik Shelquist filed to run in House 82 as a Republican.

Steven McKnight filed to run in House 85 as a Republican.

Kayla Chick filed to run in House 117 as a Democrat.

Nate Branscom filed to run in House 131 as a Democrat.

Amber Elizabeth Thomsen filed to run for House 156 as a Republican.

Loretta Thomas filed to run for House 157 as a Democrat.

Jerry Sparks filed to run for House 159 as a Democrat.

Elizabeth Lundstrum filed for House 161 as a Democrat.

Chad Fletcher filed to run for House 163 as a Democrat.

And

Richard Davidson (Republican) withdrew from House 160.

 

New Committees

Brady O’Dell formed a candidate committee (Not For Sale O'dell) to run for House 11 as a Democrat.

Matt Cavanaugh formed a candidate committee (Boone County For Cavanaugh) to run for Boone County Presiding Commissioner as a Republican.

James Morris formed a candidate committee (Friends Of Jimmy Morris) to run for Jasper County Collector of Revenue as a Republican.

Mary Dempsey formed a candidate committee (Citizens For Mary Dempsey) to run for St. Charles County Recorder of Deeds as a Republican.

Paul Fehler formed a candidate committee (Paul Fehler For A Progressive 8Th Ward) to run for Alderman in St. Louis City (March 2019 primary) as a Democrat.

Fluoride-Free Springfield PAC was formed.  Its treasurer is Stephen Leck.

 

Lobbyists Registrations

Andy Blunt, Chris Moody, Jay Reichard, Angela Schulte, Ginger Steinmetz, and Noel Torpey added Workday.

Mark Rhoads added Jackson Vaughn Public Strategies O/b/o First American Land Title Company, and Multistate Multistate Associates, Inc O/b/o Motorcycle Safety Foundation.

 

$5K+ Contributions

Committee for a Healthy Community - $10,662 from American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network.

Local 41 Political Action Fund - $15,872 from DRIVE Committee.

Lincoln PAC - $10,000 from Nabholz Construction.

Lincoln PAC - $5,001 from Positronic Industries.

Lincoln PAC - $5,001 from Missouri Forward PAC.

Lincoln PAC - $5,001 from Franklin County Leadership PAC.

 

Birthdays

Happy birthday to Rep. Mike Kelley, Mike Leara, and Dave Stokes.