A few notes:
Keegan Evans has joined Sen. Jason Holsman’s office. He’s from the Missouri Highway Patrol. Holsman’s former staffer, Zac Sweet, is said to headed to the Kansas City Chamber of Commerce.
Former Hummel staffer Liz Henderson has joined Sen. Lauren Arthur’s office.
And Josh Foster is back with the majority caucus staff.
The big news is the rumor circulating that involves former senator Jim Lembke. His name doesn’t appear on the roster (yet). However multiple sources indicate that Lembke will be working in the building this year – “shared” by a couple senators. It’s thought that Sens. Bill Eigel, Denny Hoskins and Eric Burlison will split his salary.
It raises fears that a Republican dissident bloc is already arming for confrontations. However “calm yourself” is the response from one Senate-side source. “Folks hoping (or fearing) the rise of a new Schaaf-like mentality should take a breath. Rob has left the building and I believe with him his way of scorched earth tactics. The folks Lembke would be working closely with in this scenario are interested in actually moving good conservative legislation, not just killing everything…”
Reinforcing that view is talk that both Eigel and Hoskins will have spots on the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee. That would seem to signify that they are on good working terms with Pro Tem Dave Schatz, and not expected to be a hostile force.
The Long Shadow of the Greitens Era
Post-Dispatch’s Jack Suntrup reported last week about more revelations of questionable behavior during Eric Greitens’ brief tenure. See it here.
A political consultant from Georgia directed taxpayer-paid employees in Missouri during the early days of former Gov. Eric Greitens’ doomed administration, according to a Post-Dispatch review of emails generated by the Republican governor’s team. Austin Chambers, now 23, was one of the architects of Greitens’ winning “conservative outsider” strategy in 2016. When Greitens took office in January 2017, Chambers approved policy rollouts, was copied on multiple drafts of Greitens’ first State of the State address, and had access to pending media inquiries, according to the emails… The records show that press secretary Parker Briden crafted posts for Greitens’ personal Facebook page, which could constitute a violation of the law because taxpayer resources cannot be expended on political purposes…
What It Means
There’s a sense that we’re going to be discovering more and more sketchy, or even unlawful, behavior from the Greitens Era. Among the chatter, folks think the investigation into the Department of Public Safety will be yielding bad news as well. The fact that Governor Mike Parson handed it off to Democrat Auditor Nicole Galloway makes it appear pretty significant.
These misdeeds – in addition to the ones which led to Greitens’ resignation – are best explained as a culture fostered by an “outsider” almost entirely concerned with positioning himself for a presidential bid. Team Greitens, populated by hustling, but young and inexperienced staff who either thought the mission was more important than following rules, or never learned the rules, made a lot of bad choices.
Barnes Signs Off
On his blog (see it here), Rep. Jay Barnes offers some final thoughts as he’s termed out. After reminding folks that not all politicians are bad, that term limits have had unintended adverse consequences, and that members of both parties too often disregard the truth, he closes with a fearful assessment… “In the Trump era, the national Republican Party has become dangerously close to a cult – with followers willing to throw aside policies, foreign and domestic, that had defined the party for decades, ignore reams of outright lies from the leader, and stand quietly aside as basic human decency is tossed away as a fundamental principle of presidential leadership.
I believe legislators have a higher duty than simply winning elections. There are political values for which one should be willing to lose: the freedoms in our Bill of Rights; the belief in absolute truths; the idea that the rule of law is more powerful than any individual who happens to be in charge at that moment. We now live in a society where these basic principles are under attack for the first time in living memory. What happens next is hard to predict, but it is nearly guaranteed to be a rough two years. The democratic institutions that have made our country what Ronald Reagan called the last best hope of man on earth will be tested. For these reasons, I leave office more worried about the future of our country than I ever thought I could be….”
Missouri Forward PAC - $10,000 from Isle of Capri – Boonville.
Marvin Freeman deleted Missouri Association of Workforce Development, and Training And Employment Administrators Of Missouri.
Happy birthdays to Chris Moreland and Gentry Trotter.