Monday April 30 - New Greitens Investigation, Vescovo Safe? and more...

Poll: Vescovo Safe

A Republican shared their polling on House 112 to show that Jefferson County is “going to be a battleground, but the Floor Leader will be safe.”

The numbers have Republicans leading the generic ballot there.  And Rep. Rob Vescovo leading his Democratic opponent, Benjamin Hagin by 15 points (50-35, with 15 undecided).

 

Another Greitens Investigation Launched

KCStar’s Tessa Weinberg reports that “Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley is launching another Sunshine Law investigation into fellow Republican Gov. Eric Greitens, this one centered on the governor’s use of social media.  Hawley’s office had previously agreed with Greitens that his social media accounts were private, telling the Star in February that it would not require Greitens to turn over private messages, names of users who were blocked or emails used to create his social accounts.  But newly revealed emails cast doubt on whether Greitens can withhold such information from the public.

Hawley’s office said it would begin the new investigation after The Star asked about emails that appear to show a state employee helping craft a Facebook post for the governor at a time when Greitens had only one Facebook page, which he had used for his campaign.”

What It Means

The more they look, they more they find.

And the Bigger Picture

All of these scandals are painting the portrait of a candidate and office-holder who felt the rules didn’t apply to him.  In hindsight this seems evident in taking millions in the dark money while moralizing a holier-than-thou rhetoric, the failure to make tax returns public, the unwillingness to disclose inaugural contributions, the creation of a non-profit to hide donors, the substitution of hand-picked questions from Facebook “chats” instead of actual press conferences, and on-and-on.

That “do different” model though now – after the Mission Continues donor list, the Ethics consent order and this new allegation – looks more like glib justification for ethically shady behavior.

 

Cole County’s Move

Last week Attorney General Josh Hawley referred evidence to Cole County Prosecutor Mark Richardson for a new charge against Governor Eric Greitens.  Some politicos think that the newspaper reporting of the referral was driven by a leak from Hawley to push the weak-kneed Richardson into action.

One veteran observer sees the situation like this… “Richardson’s predecessor as Cole County prosecutor, Richard Callahan, needed months and the work of strong assistants to successfully convict Secretary of State Judi Moriarty in 1994 of backdating her own son's legislative filing paperwork to make sure he got on the ballot. It was a misdemeanor conviction and the House followed with impeachment (majority Democrats impeached a Democrat, with support from a Democratic governor, AG and the state party).

If Richardson does not file charges there will be lots of questions about why he didn't – led by Republicans desperate to save Hawley from this soul-killing morass. The best course is for Richardson is to call on the AG as special prosecutor and let those who developed the information handle the prosecution. All Richardson has to do is execute a pivot and handoff…”

 

Meanwhile

It’s said that Rep. Jay Barnes is crafting a broad-ranging report on Greitens and The Mission Continues.  Barnes has the sworn deposition of Danny Laub, in which Laub’s attorney says Laub was fully cooperative.

Folks are expecting the latest report from the House Investigative Committee to come out Tuesday or Wednesday. This will likely give the public the first view at the evidence that has been assembled in this case.

As these misdeeds pile up on the governor it will be harder and harder for the House not to explore impeachment.

 

Contagion: Does Adams Have a Problem?

One MOScouter thinks that Greitens attorney Michael G. Adams may have a brewing problem from his involvement with the governor.  Adams is running in Kentucky for secretary of state.

The problem: Adams is unlicensed in Missouri but apparently “practiced” law in Missouri when he signed Greitens’ Missouri Ethics Commission settlement on April 26, 2017, as “Attorney for Respondent.”

Missouri State Rules and Regulations 1-CSR-50-4.010 (4) states, effective February 29, 2016: “An attorney not authorized to practice in Missouri shall enter an appearance in accordance with Missouri Supreme Court Rules.”

There is no Michael G. Adams licensed to practice law in Missouri. The only attorneys licensed in Missouri with those first and last names are in Lone Jack, Mo., and San Antonio, and neither is the Kentucky Michael Adams.

From a veteran Missouri attorney who has practiced state administrative law for decades: “Negotiating and signing the settlement for a client is the practice of law. Unless you’re a member of the bar you can only be admitted by a court on a pro hoc vice motion. There was no court case for him to do that in. The MEC can’t grant someone the authority to practice law.”

It would be up to Kentucky bar disciplinary authorities to impose punishment on Adams as The Missouri Bar and the Missouri Supreme Court have no jurisdiction over an attorney not licensed in Missouri.

 

Senate 18: Munzy Endorses Redmon

Term-limited Sen. Brian Munzlinger endorsed Rep. Craig Redmon to replace him.  Redmon is in a four-way Republican primary.  See it here.

“I am proud to support my colleague and friend, Craig Redmon, to be the next Senator of the 18th Senatorial District. Craig has served the past seven years as a state representative from the 4th District. He has lived in the district his entire life. Craig and his wife Brenda operate a small business in Monticello. The most important thing I can tell you about Craig, and why he has my whole-hearted support, is he understands that the number one industry in our region and our state is agriculture. I know Craig will work hard to protect agriculture and continue to move it forward in the 21st Century. In the House, Craig is Chairman of the Agriculture, Conservation, Natural Resources and Economic Development sub-committee on Appropriations. Craig also serves on the Agriculture Policy Committee. I know Craig is keeping an eye on how state government spends our tax dollars. As our next Senator, he will make sure the state fulfills its promises to taxpayers. I have never seen anyone work as Craig does to represent his constituents and their issues.”

 

Bits

Modern Health Care reports that Ascension’s Anthony Tersigni is on the short list to head the VA.  See it hereAscension President and CEO Anthony Tersigni is among those being considered to lead the Veterans Affairs Department, sources close to the matter say.  Other potential candidates include Acting Secretary Robert Wilkie and former Cleveland Clinic CEO Dr. Toby Cosgrove. House Speaker Paul Ryan suggested that Rep. Phil Roe (R-Tenn.), chair of the House Veterans' Affairs Committee, and former congressman Jeff Miller (R-Fla.) should also be considered…. For the past 13 year, Tersigni has lead the nation's largest Catholic health system. Ascension has also been the most prominent participant in the VA Choice program, the government's effort to expand access for veterans by paying for healthcare provided by the private sector.

 

Rep. Shawn Rhoads officially withdrew from the House 154 on Friday.

 

The Missouri Ethics Commission issued an opinion on whether someone who’s currently an action deputy director can hop over to the private side with a contractor for that division.  Answer: yes.  See it here.

 

And it looks like STL Dems were working this weekend to provide a Missouri Ethics Commission nominee.  See the tweet here. Possible nominees included former St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley.

 

New Committees

Dylan Burd formed a candidate committee (Dylan Burd For Missouri State Representative) to run for House 26 as a Democrat.

Brenda Hamby formed a candidate committee (Committee To Elect Brenda Hamby) to run for Ceder County Clerk as a Republican.

Becky York formed a candidate committee (Friends Of Becky York) to run for Ripley County Clerk as a Democrat.

Building Communities PAC Inc was formed.  Its treasurer is Denise Heintz.

 

Today’s Events

Bicycle, Pedestrian, & Trails Day at the Capitol.

Missouri KidsFirst hosts “Standing with Children Luncheon” at The Millbottom, Jefferson City – 11:30AM.

 

Lobbyists Registrations

Andy Arnold deleted Joe L Thompson Consulting, LPC Inc., and Consumer Lending Alliance Inc.

Thomas Robbins added Jefferson City Medical Group.

 

Birthdays

Happy birthdays to Andy Blunt, Dave Evans, and Julie Murphy Finn.