Friday May 11 - FTW $$$ - MEC Opinion on Dark Money - Irwin Retiring and more...

Gov Can’t Move Statutory IPs

One astute reader pointed out that criticism of the governor for not moving the left-leaning initiative petitions to the August ballot is at least partially misplaced.  The constitution doesn’t give the governor the power to move the proposed statutory changes.

From Article III, section 52b: All elections on measures referred to the people shall be had at the general state elections, except when the general assembly shall order a special election.

That means that the minimum wage question must be in August, as well as one of the medical marijuana issues (the other two MMJ IPs are constitutional).  There is a good government argument for keeping all the MMJ ballot questions together – though maybe not necessarily a good Republican argument…

 

Senate Passes RTW Referendum Date Change

After an all-night session finally ending around 5:30AM this morning, the Senate passed Sen. Dave Schatz’ resolution to move the right-to-work referendum to the August ballot.  This has been a priority as many Republicans worried that the referendum on the November ballot would have increased Democratic turn-out and helped Sen. Claire McCaskill’s re-election bid.

It now heads to the House where it should be find easy passage.

 

Trial Watch

Jury selection began in the governor’s criminal case.  See it here.

But

For all the drama at the St. Louis courthouse, remember this is just one among many troubles engulfing Greitens’ governorship.

Aside from possible impeachment in Jefferson City, there’s also: felony charge related to TMC donor list, possible charge related to false statement in MEC filings, civil suit over Confide, possible civil suit from TMC over donor list, possible civil suit from Washington University over misuse of grant funds, ongoing investigations by AG into Confide misuse, and social media misuse, ongoing House Investigative Committee investigations, plus whatever the FBI is doing under the radar.

ROTO (Reminder of the Obvious): Roe Owns This Governor

Without Axiom Strategies Eric Greitens would have been impeached by now.  Only through the Herculean political muscles of Jeff Roe and his Axiom-ites is the governor limping along.  Greitens is forever indebted to the strong man...

 

Gov’s Lawyers Want to Work With Legislature

Post Dispatch reports “with a special House committee compiling information that could be used to impeach Greitens in the coming weeks, attorney Ross Garber said he wants to work with legislative leaders to outline a process that the public can observe.”  See it here.

But

The article notes that Garber “is being paid $320 an hour in taxpayer funds to help navigate the legal questions… [and] also on board the legal team is Kansas City attorney Eddie Greim of the Graves Garrett law firm…”

One observer gasps that it will cost taxpayers about “$660/hour for conference calls with these lawyers talking impeachment…”  Yikers!

 

Freedom to Work Gets Second Life?

The first-rate Jason Hancock reports that “Missouri lawmakers have fast-tracked a bill that would put a right-to-work law in the state's Constitution in the hopes of rushing it through the process and across the finish line before the legislative session ends at 6 p.m. next Friday. The expedited legislative push comes after a failed effort by a political action committee called Freedom to Work to collect enough signatures to put the right-to-work amendment on the statewide ballot later this year — despite spending more than $750,000 on the campaign since January. Over the course of a few hours Wednesday evening, two Missouri House committees approved the proposed constitutional amendment. Even the bill's sponsor says he was caught off guard by how quickly his legislation started moving….”  See it here.

But

The juiciest part of the story is the loads of money that Axiom/Graves/Ayers made on the failed signature collection… “Most of Freedom to Work's money came from Greitens' nonprofit, A New Missouri Inc. And most of Freedom to Work's spending went to some of Greitens' closest political allies…

Freedom to Work has paid $600,000 to Vanguard Field Strategies to collect signatures. Vanguard is owned by Jeff Roe, a veteran GOP consultant whose public relations firm is working on behalf of the governor’s legal defense team…

Freedom to Work also paid $37,500 for fundraising services to the company of Meredith Gibbons. She’s also the fundraiser for Greitens’ campaign committee and for A New Missouri.

The law firm of Greitens ally and Missouri GOP Chairman Todd Graves was paid $25,000 by Freedom to Work. Graves’ firm also represents the legal defense fund for Greitens’ staff.

C5 Creative Consulting was paid $46,000. The company was founded by Nick Ayers, Greitens’ top 2016 campaign consultant…

Two other Ayers-affiliated companies — Something Else Strategies and BASK Digital Media — were paid $30,000 and $15,000, respectively, by Freedom to Work.

Another political action committee pushing the failed right-to-work initiative petition, Missourians for Worker Freedom, took $350,000 in contributions from A New Missouri last summer. Since then, it's paid $185,000 to Graves' law firm for legal fees, $180,000 to Roe's Axiom Strategies and $6,500 to Gibbons’ company….”

 

MEC Issues Opinion on Dark Money

We’ll see how this plays out, but in an opinion issued yesterday by the Missouri Ethic Commission appears to puncture the veil of darkness that entities like the governor’s political nonprofit, A New Missouri, have used to hide their donors.  See the opinion here.

From the opinion: Because a nonprofit corporation is a “person” under Missouri campaign finance laws, that corporation becomes a committee if it accepts contributions, in excess of $500 in a calendar year or in excess of $250 for a single contributor, for the primary or incidental purpose of influencing or attempting to influence the action of voters for or against the nomination or election to public office of one or more candidates or the qualification, passage or defeat of any ballot… Once a nonprofit becomes a committee is required to register the committee with the commission within 20 days by filing a statement of committee organization… and file reports as required…

My reading is that A New Missouri and other such nonprofits must file campaign finance filings showing where the money they used to attempt to influence voters came from.

 

Irwin Retiring

Tom Irwin, executive director to Civic Progress, is retiring at the end of June.  Look for his successor to be announced within the next week.

Irwin came to St. Louis from Boston to serve in the administration of Mayor Vince Schoemehl.  His career in public service also included time leading the Missouri Gaming Commission and St. Louis mass transit organization, the Bi-State Development Agency.

Irwin’s last Civic Progress meeting will be June 25, fifty years to the day that he began service… as a Marine recruit on Parris Island headed to Vietnam.

 

Bits

In the “New Committees” Team Justin was formed as a PAC. It could be a vehicle to support Justin Brown in his state senate bid.  None of the Senate 16 candidates have shown much fundraising prowess, so having a PAC to raise third party money could be helpful.  The treasurer, James C Thomas III, has ties to political consultant Jeff Roe.

 

In “5K+ Contributions,” Sen. Jill Schupp gave $10K to the Missouri Democratic Party.  Could this be the start of Schupp using her vast war-chest to help other Democrats after Republicans failed to file a credible candidate against her?

 

New Committees

Carol McCaslin formed a candidate committee (McCaslin For Auditor) to run for Clay County Auditor as a Republican.

Emily Pullen formed a candidate committee (Committee To Elect Emily Parker Pullen County Clerk) to run for Pullen Cunty Clerk as a Republican.

Team Justin was formed.  It’s a PAC.  Its treasurer is James C Thomas III.

 

Lobbyists Registrations

Elizabeth McGiffert deleted Consumer Reports Inc.

David Cooper Jr. deleted American Outdoor Brands Corporation.

Bryant Lemay and Michael Monetta deleted Wolf-PAC.

 

$5K+ Contributions

We Are Missouri - $43,000 from Missouri AFL-CIO General Fund.

McCaslin for Auditor - $50,000 from McCaslin for Auditor.

Missouri Democratic State Committee - $22,900 from Middle Class Missouri PAC.

Missouri Democratic State Committee - $10,000 from Schupp for Senate.

John Burnett for Jackson County - $10,000 from John Burnett.

 

Birthdays

Happy birthdays to Abram Messer, Rep. Greg Razer, and Jerryl Christmas.

Saturday: Leann Chilton, and Peter Kinder.

Sunday: Corey Jackson, and former Rep. Beth Low.