MOScout Daily Update: Session Starts - Axiom's Big Cycle - SNAP $$ Safe for Now and more...

Driving the Day

Today begins the 100th General Assembly, 1st Regular Session.  It feels like the world has turned 180 degrees since this time last year when Eric Greitens was governor. 

There is of course the completely different style and demeanor displayed by Governor Mike Parson. But more importantly Parson has brought a focus and discipline to his political agenda that Greitens lacked.  While Greitens was always angling to play the latest news to position himself for a presidential bid, Parson keeps repeating “workforce development” and “infrastructure.”  The words are like mantras.

It’s a jobs agenda plain and simple.  And most Republicans have embraced it. 

That’s not to say there won’t be any pro-life bills.  But the emphasis will be heavy on making Missouri a place where we have the workers that businesses desire and the infrastructure that businesses need.

What It Means

The most popular game this session will likely be lobbyists massaging their clients’ needs to fit into the “workforce” or “infrastructure” boxes.


Axiom Leads Pack

Axiom Strategies handled the majority of Republican political work in Missouri during the last cycle.  According to a detailed analysis that tallied expenditures from Missouri campaign committees, as well as federal committees, Republican Missouri-based political consultants were paid nearly $16.7 million.

Of that, Axiom Strategies hauled in a little over $10 million, taking 61 cents of every dollar spent in Missouri

The others, in order of market share, were: Victory Enterprises, Palm Strategies, The Barklage Company, and J. Harris Company.

Part of Axiom’s success has been the development of companies focusing on specialized services under the Axiom umbrella.  For example, their Vanguard Field Strategies billed Freedom to Work committee $1.2 million for signature collection.  Meanwhile Ax Media billed over $500K to various campaigns for TV buys and media placement, while Cannon Research Group handled opposition research and Remington Research provided polling. 

What It Means

Like most Republicans operatives now, Axiom has both a campaign arm, and a lobbying arm.  It’s an arrangement that presents pitfalls (conflicts of interest, possible grudges), but importantly allows for off-cycle revenues and employment. 

And there are synergies. The fact that Axiom had 50 signed state representative clients in Missouri win in this last cycle is quite significant.  That gives their lobbying team quick entry to those offices to pitch an issue or angle. And the same phenomenon is at play in the Senate where Axiom will have worked on the campaigns of 19 state senators.


Follow-Up on Kirby

I wrote yesterday that David Kirby will be joining the State Auditor’s office.  He’ll be tackling legislative affairs, taking the spot of Joan Gummels who is retiring.


Who Knew?  The Arnold Follows MO Politics

Arnold – yeah that one, with the Twitter-bio “Conan, Terminator, and Governor of California. I killed the Predator. I told you I'd be back” – weighs in on talk of revising CLEAN.  He tweeted (to his 4.2 million followers) yesterday: “When are politicians going to learn? You serve the people, they don’t serve you. 62% of Missouri voters approved redistricting reform. You lost. The people won. Accept it.”


SLATE Can of Worms?

Post-Dispatch reports that “Mayor Lyda Krewson says her office will investigate a city jobs agency amid reports of financial mismanagement. The announcement came after a KMOV (Channel 4) report last week featuring anonymous current and former employees of the St. Louis Agency on Training and Employment — better known as SLATE — alleging misspending of grant money, poor oversight over payroll and a hostile work environment. Krewson said officials will also ask Missouri Auditor Nicole Galloway to move up the audit of SLATE, as the auditor’s office continues its overview of city finances…”


This started with questions being raised about Rep. Bruce Franks’ timesheets.  One Dem tells me they think it’s an opening “opp research” dump to ahead of Franks’ 2020 Senate 5 run to replace termed Sen. Jamilah Nasheed.  But one very good city source says the complaint initially came from non-political types inside SLATE. 

I’ll be surprised with the auditor’s office doesn’t find a whole bunch of mess.  We’ll see…


SNAP Money Safe – For Now

Washington Post reports that the Trump Administration is promising that food stamps money will still be available through February.  See it here.

“In a call with reporters on Tuesday, Agriculture Department officials said that they will give states the money for February’s food stamps ahead of time – by Jan. 20 – to circumvent the expiration of federal appropriations. States, which administer the SNAP program, will have to ask for the money to be allocated earlier than they normally would.  The move is part of a series of attempts by the Trump administration to limit the pain inflicted by the government shutdown now in its third week, as officials scramble to prevent essential federal services from expiring.”

Empower Missouri cites USDA data that “one out of six households in rural Missouri and one out of eight urban households depend on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, commonly known as food stamps).”


Help Wanted

Veterans For Peace seeks Executive Director.  “The VFP national office is in Saint Louis. Willingness to live in St. Louis, at least initially, is strongly preferred. Past military experience required.  The position of Executive Director, like all such employment, is in the general management category and requires leadership, initiative, and judgment far beyond the specific items that can be listed in this brief description….  Managing Staff, Managing the Budget, Board Support, Chapter Support, Member Support, Public Relations, Fundraising, Program Review, and Development… Starting salary of $50,000 to $60,000… Applicants should submit a cover letter, resume and three or more references, electronically to:”


Lobbyists Registrations

Kevin Breslin added Bannister Transformation & Development LLC; and deleted Centerpoint Properties Trust.

Heath Clarkston, Harry Gallagher, Doug Nelson, and Kurt Schaefer added Diamond Game.

Raul Allegue deleted The Travelers Companies, Inc. And Subsidiaries

Dan Schuette deleted Packaging Service Co Inc, The Bio2 Solution, Roeslein & Associates Inc, Flotron & McIntosh LLC, Timberland Forest Products, and Royal Oak Enterprises LLC.

Bethanne Cooley deleted CTIA – The Wireless Association.

Michael Alesandrini deleted Michael Alesandrini, Principal Of Leverage Management Solutions.



Happy birthday to Caleb Jones.