Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Q&A #1: Will House Report Matter?

Short answer: The governor thinks so.


The building is beginning to brace for the issuance of the House Special Investigative Committee’s report.  Especially the second floor.  Yesterday Jason Hancock reported that “Gov. Eric Greitens is asking a Missouri House committee that has been investigating him to delay the release of a report detailing its findings until after his criminal trial is complete out of concern it could taint the potential jury pool… The letter was signed by St. Louis attorney Ed Dowd, the governor’s private defense counsel, and Lucinda Luetkemeyer, the general counsel in the governor’s office.  It’s also signed by Ross Garber, a Washington, D.C.-based attorney whose previous clients include three former governors who faced impeachment proceedings — Robert Bentley of Alabama, Mark Sanford of South Carolina and John Rowland of Connecticut.  State Rep. Jay Barnes, chair of the investigative committee, and state Rep. Don Phillips, vice-chair of the committee, released a statement Tuesday evening saying the committee ‘has given Gov. Greitens the opportunity to testify, and remains open to receiving further information as it continues its work.’”   See it here.


I don’t think the governor’s office could reasonably believe that the House Investigative Committee is going to take marching orders about when to release the report.  This appears to be pre-spinning the fact that the governor didn’t accept the Committee’s invitation to tell his side of the story.  It’s a spin that one Republican legislator – who hasn’t been on the anti-Greitens wagon – described to me was “bullshit.”


Yesterday as I spoke to folks I asked them how they thought the House report would play – under the assumption that there are no additional revelations that haven’t already been discussed in the press.

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.

One Republican sees both scenarios playing out.  He thinks inside the building the report won’t change anyone’s opinion of the matter.  However across the state average Missourians will find the details repulsive, and the governor’s polls may drop a bit more.  (He also thinks the gov is near the nadir of his popularity).

But – I’m not hearing anyone thinking that the report will make folks start pounding the table for impeachment.  And – no one thinks the governor won’t be diminished by the report.

Of course this is all coming from folks who don’t know what the committee has heard and how the report will read, so….  We’ll see


Quote of the Day

“At this point Eric Greitens has more high-priced lawyers than O.J. Simpson did.”


Why Quade Should Run

Rep. Crystal Quade has until the 11th Tuesday before the August primary to decide to run for Senate 30 instead of re-election for her House seat.  By my count that’s May22.  That’s when current Senate candidate Charlie Norr would have to withdraw and create the vacancy for her.

Practically, the sooner she decides, the better.

I spoke to someone yesterday who outlined why she should run.  In short, because she’ll never have a better chance to go to the Senate.

First, the environment this year is ideal in nearly every respect. Thanks to Donald Trump in the White House, Democrats are enthusiastic and should see higher than normal turn-out.  Furthermore, Missouri Republicans have a governor under indictment who appears to be committed to seeing all the investigations now underway to their conclusion.

Second, though, we’re just a few years away from redistricting.  And the fact that there’s an open, winnable Senate district, should not be lightly discounted.  There might not be any opportunities in Springfield after 2021.

The only downside to this year is the Republican candidate, Lincoln Hough, who has proven to be a top-tier fundraiser.  Still Springfield is not the sort of place where a Democrat is going to get a free pass any year.


Trump Tariffs

From Politico’s Playbook: KEY QUOTE FROM THE BLOOMBERG STORY: "'China's response was tougher than what the market was expecting -- investors didn't foresee the country levying additional tariffs on sensitive and important products such as soybeans and airplanes,' said Gao Qi, Singapore-based strategist at Scotiabank."


-- BLOOMBERG'S JOSHUA GREEN (@JoshuaGreen): "New Chinese tariffs this morning could have big effect on U.S. midterms. Per Bloomberg data, biggest soybean producers include: Ohio, Iowa, Missouri, Indiana."

-- WITHER TAX REFORM: This could completely dwarf the good news Republicans have celebrated from tax reform and screw up their strategy to use it as the GOP's main selling point in the midterms.


Revenue Report

The March state revenue report showed the fiscal year-to-date revenues are 3.8% higher than a year ago.  March 2018 net revenues were below March 2017 revenues. House Budget Chair Scott Fitzpatrick tweeted that “collections were up over 7%. The decrease is because we are paying refunds a lot faster this year because cash flow is better. We have about $125 million less in pending refunds now than we did at this time last year…”


Three-Way Speaker 2023…

One Republican representative sees the Speaker 2023 “becoming an arms race.”  They note that in addition to my blurb yesterday about Rep. David Gregory’s fundraising tear, Rep. Cody Smith is headlining a $25,000 regional event in Joplin for HRCC, and Rep. Dean Plocher had double the cash on hand of any freshman ($60K) last quarter. If you’re looking at money, it’s a 3 person race right now.

One reader asked: in this Amendment 2 world, what will they do with all this money?  Maybe start PACs or spending it in independent expenditures.  Or just write a fat check to HRCC to show their commitment to the caucus…


Northland KC PAC

Northland KC Leadership PAC was formed.  Its treasurer is J. Aaron Craig.  And according to paperwork filed with the Missouri Ethics Commission, it is supporting Rep. Kevin Corlew’s Senate 17 bid.


eMailbag on Curtman Contra Gardner

One reader says that Rep. Paul Curtman’s complaint to the Missouri Bar is misdirected.  “The Office of Chief Disciplinary Counsel is an agency of the Missouri Supreme Court and is responsible for investigating allegations of misconduct by lawyers, prosecuting the cases where a lawyer’s misconduct poses a threat to the public or to the integrity of the legal profession, and maintaining current records of disciplinary information for lawyers licensed to practice law in Missouri.”  See it here.


New Committees

Pamela Menefee formed a candidate committee (Citizens For Pamela Menefee) to run for House 61 as a Democrat.

Rik Combs formed a candidate committee (Combs For Missouri) to run for House 59 as a Republican.

Melissa Meek formed a candidate committee (Committee To Re-Elect Melissa Missy Meek Dekalb County Clerk Les Meek Treasurer) to run for DeKalb County Clerk as a Republican.

Sarah Herman formed a candidate committee (Friends Of Sarah Herman) to run for Cooper County Clerk as a Republican.

Eric Robinson formed a candidate committee (Friends To Elect Eric Robinson) to run for Jefferson County Auditor as a Republican.


Candidate Withdrawals

Ryan Cantrell (Republican) withdrew from House 137.


Lobbyists Registrations

Chris Liese, Neal English, Tony Dugger, James Foley, Andrew Foley, Mark Bruns, and Gary Burton added Historic Revitalization For Missouri

Jeremey LaFaver added Empower Missouri, and LaFaver & Associates LLC.

Kathryn Gamble, Jeff Brooks, and Salvatore Panettiere added Empower Missouri.

Charles Pierce added Capital Sand Company Inc.

Jean Paul Bradshaw, Heath Clarkston, Harry Gallagher, Doug Nelson, and Kurt Schaefer added Helena Agri-Enterprises, LLC; and deleted Helena Chemicals.

Heath Clarkston, Doug Nelson, and Kurt Schaefer added Navigant Consulting, Inc., and Renaissance Learning, Inc.

Jim Hampton deleted Clay County Economic Development Council.


$5K+ Contributions

Missouri Democratic State Committee - $10,000 from Sharalyn Saks.

Connect KC - $10,000 from International Union of Operating Engineers Local 101.

Friends of Dolan - $5,001 from CHIPP Political Account.



Happy birthdays to Rep. David Wood, Theresa Garza, and Matt Villa.



To Ryan Nonnemaker on the birth of Landon Ryan Nonnemaker.