Meet the Bagman: Faughn Delivery Service
The latest crazy twist from the Greitens scandal hit yesterday: media personality Scott Faughn was the person that delivered the first $50,000 to Al Watkins, attorney for the ex-husband.
Neither Faughn nor Watkins, who has been paid a total of $100K, has identified the source of the funds.
The mighty Jason Rosenbaum notes that there’s speculation Faughn was helping out folks upset about Greitens freeze on state low-income tax credits. One of the sponsors of Faughn’s television show "This Week in Missouri Politics" is Sterling Bank, which has made loans using low-income housing tax credits. Greitens ended that state incentive in 2017, which could end up costing the developers, banks and syndicators hundreds of millions of dollars over the next few years. Lt. Gov. Mike Parson is a strong supporter of that program. And it’s widely assumed that Parson would reverse Greitens’ tax credit embargo if he were to become governor.
The House Special Investigative Committee has subpoenaed both Watkins and Faughn, and will presumably ask them where the money came from.
The governor’s team immediately seized on Faughn’s side-gig as evidence of “pay-offs of the people who are working to take down the Governor.”
What It Means
I don’t think it changes the overall dynamics of the situation – the legal case or the impeachment track. Most folks in the building view Faughn more as “a character,” than a journalist. However he is a member of the capitol press corps, and there’s no way to get around how shitty this looks for the press corps.
House Issues Report Addendum
The House Investigative Committee issued an addendum to its first report. The additional documents essentially rebut Greitens’ recent talking point insinuating that the hairdresser has contradicted herself in other depositions. The Committee said she did not, and that she is still considered a credible witness. See it here.
Follow-Up on New Greitens Social Media Investigation
Republican consultant Gregg Keller took to Twitter yesterday to give his perspective on Hawley’s latest investigation into the governor’s office use of Facebook. Keller sees it as a staffer doing political work on state time. “Surely if Parker Briden has been doing campaign work during official hours he’s kept a log of such work, with dates, times etc. That’s SOP for political appointees. I kept one when I worked for Sen. Talent. Let’s just see the log.” See it here.
This prospect had one lobbyist remark to me, somewhat disheartened, that it looks like some 20-something staffers may get pulled into the vortex that is the Greitens’ scandal blackhole. He wonders if at some point Greitens will realize the extent of the collateral damage created by his obstinance – and if he cares.
Follow-Up on Adams
An attorney wrote me to point out that Greitens’ attorney Michael G. Adams could face trouble here in Missouri… “the unlawful practice of law is a misdemeanor criminal offense… The Supreme Court and OCDC can assert disciplinary authority.
RULE 4-8.5: DISCIPLINARY AUTHORITY; CHOICE OF LAW
(a) A lawyer admitted to practice in this jurisdiction is subject to the disciplinary authority of this jurisdiction regardless of where the lawyer's conduct occurs. A lawyer not admitted in this jurisdiction is also subject to the disciplinary authority of this jurisdiction if the lawyer provides or offers to provide any legal services in this jurisdiction. A lawyer may be subject to the disciplinary authority of both this jurisdiction and other jurisdictions for the same conduct.”
Senate 34: GOP Seeks to Kick Van Meter off Ballot
Yesterday the 34th Republican Senatorial District Committee filed a lawsuit to kick Scot Van Meter off the ballot in Senate 34. Van Meter is currently an elected Democrat, and drew the ire of supporters of Republican candidate Harry Roberts. They felt Van Meter filed to cut into Roberts geographic base.
From the press release: The 34th District GOP’s right to not be associated with Van Meter is protected by the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution. The U.S. Supreme Court has declared that such a right of non-association is protected by the U.S. Constitution…
Jim Rooney, Chairman of the 34th District GOP, says, “It’s clear Scot Van Meter is not a Republican. Even after filing as a Republican, Scot Van Meter filed paperwork with the Missouri Ethics Commission on April 10 stating he was a Democrat. We filed this lawsuit to protect our primary elections from medling for political gain.”
Air Methods Adds Lobbyists
In the new lobbyists registrations below, you’ll find Air Methods adding folks to their Missouri squad. This appears to becoming on the heels of Senator Claire McCaskill and state legislators taking a particular interest in air ambulances.
From the Post-Dispatch article: McCaskill sent letters to the leaders of Aetna, Air Evac Lifeteam, Air Methods, Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas City, Cigna, Humana, LifeFlight and UnitedHealth Group. The state of Missouri spent $3.6 million on 2,897 air ambulance transports for its Medicaid recipients in fiscal year 2016.
One state legislator said efforts to fix the air ambulance billing issues are alive in the Capitol. The Senate recently passed a bill that aims to protect patients from surprise bills when they unexpectedly receive out-of-network care.
Senate Insurance Committee chairman Paul Wieland, R-Imperial, told reporters Thursday during a news conference that he’s hoping to add an amendment that would tackle out-of-network air ambulance issues, too. The House is expected to take up the bill this week, but Wieland admits it is a difficult issue to solve…. On the same day Wieland made his comments, one air ambulance company, O’Fallon-based Air Evac Lifeteam, hired a new team of lobbyists, from Gamble and Schlemeier, according to records from the Missouri Ethics Commission….
STL Regional Chamber Tries to Rightsize
St. Louis Business Journal reports on the latest St. Louis Regional Chamber turmoil. See it here.
Pull Quote: The St. Louis Regional Chamber said Monday it will reorganize its economic development organization…. As part of the reorganization, the chamber is creating two new positions and eliminating four others. The economic development department will focus on marketing the St. Louis region and recruiting businesses, jobs and economic opportunities to the St. Louis region.
The two new jobs being created are director of business recruitment and project coordinator of business recruitment, according to chamber officials…. Reagan stepped down at the end of February. Tom Chulick, former chairman and CEO of UMB Bank-St. Louis and former president of UMB-Midwest Region, took over as acting president and CEO of the chamber March 1.
Axiom Strategies’ Clout Public Affairs seeks Senior Associate. “Clout Public Affairs is hiring for a position in its Washington, D.C. office that will support a variety of clients in the corporate, association and political realms… Reach out to establish positive working relationships with reporters to pitch stories or manage narrative for clients; Manage reaction to media inquiries, including serving as the client’s spokesperson when appropriate; Monitor print and online publications as well as social media for news affecting client industries and keep key audiences informed through quality media reports…” See it here.
Mary Nichols formed a candidate committee (Friends Of Mary Nichols) to run for state wide office in 2020 as a Democrat.
Dan Marshall formed a candidate committee (Dan Marshall For Mo52) to run for House 52 as a Democrat.
Jackie Sclair formed a candidate committee (Sclair For St. Charles) to run for House 106 as a Democrat.
Roberta Gough formed a candidate committee (Citizens For Roberta Gough) to run for Jackson County Legislature as a Democrat.
David Leonard formed a candidate committee (Friends Of 'Doc' Leonard For Cass County Recorder) to run for Cass County Recorder of Deeds as a Republican.
Chris Flanagan formed a candidate committee (Friends For Flanagan) to run for Lewis County Clerk as a Democrat.
Melissa Kempke formed a candidate committee (Committee To Reelect Melissa Kempke Pike County Clerk) to run for Pike County Clerk as a Democrat.
Dana Eads formed a candidate committee (Committee To Elect Dana Eads) to run for Newton County Clerk as a Republican.
Kickoff fundraiser for Wiley Price IV (Dem, House 84) at Exodus Art Gallery, St. Louis – 5:30PM.
Kickoff fundraiser for Adam Jenning (GOP, House 69 at Cannoli's, Florissant – 6PM.
Danny Pfeifer, Rebecca Lohmann, Gregory Porter and Alex Eaton added Air Methods.
Thomas Guyer added Eli Lilly and Company.
Sarah Schlemeier added Ticketnetwork.
Advance Missouri - $12,201 from Liberty Alliance.
Happy birthdays to Bubs Hohulin, and Aaron Griesheimer.