MOScout Daily Update: Trent for Floor Leader - Hawley Contra Rao - Sinquefield Hearts Schmitt - Keller on Circuit-Breaker and more...

Trent for Floor Leader Too

Following up on last week’s blurb about the far-off vote for their next floor leader...  In addition to Reps. David Gregory and Dean Plocher, Rep. Curtis Trent is also mulling a run for that position. 

Trent’s baggage in that he was a cheerleader for Team Greitens even after it was obvious that the former governor wasn’t… a man of much character.  But from simple geography, Trent would have an advantage in a three-way race with two St. Louis County reps. 

Of course, there will likely be more names floated between now and next year when the race really heats up. Stay tuned

 

Breaking Last Night

Axios’ Sneak Peek reported on “concerns” that Senator Josh Hawley has with a judicial nominee of President Donald TrumpSee it here.

A new obstacle has emerged in the path to Neomi Rao replacing Brett Kavanaugh on the powerful D.C. Circuit Court. A source close to the White House confirmation process told me that Republican Sen. Josh Hawley has "deep concerns" about Rao's judicial philosophy… I checked with Hawley and he confirmed what I was told about him. He elaborated on his concerns in a phone interview on Sunday. "I am only going to support nominees who have a strong record on life," Hawley told me… Hawley said he'd read Rao's academic work and was concerned that some of her writings suggested to him that she might be comfortable with "substantive due process" — a legal interpretation, loathed by many conservatives, that can be used to protect rights, such as the right to an abortion, that aren't mentioned in the Constitution… Hawley added: "I have heard directly from at least one individual who said Rao personally told them she was pro-choice. I don't know whether that’s accurate, but this is why we are doing our due diligence."

Then

After the story broke the reporter Jonathan Swan tweeted this pushbackSen. Hawley’s comments hit a nerve. Text from a strategist involved w Judicial Crisis Network: “all hands on deck..effort to demonstrate to Sen Hawley that support for conservative judicial nominees is not negotiable. We are going up w 500k in paid media next week in MO to start”

 

Driving the Day

Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt, State Senator Bob Onder, and State Representative David Gregory will host a press conference in St. Louis [this morning at 11AM] to announce a statute that seeks to more efficiently prosecute and document carjackings in St. Louis and across the state. The statute will be sponsored by State Senator Bob Onder and State Representative David Gregory… The statute would allow prosecutors to charge carjackers with motor vehicle hijacking rather than a broader robbery charge, which is the current practice. Having a separate statute allows for more accurate tracking and increases uniform sentencing…

 

Missouri Opportunity PAC

Friday Missouri Opportunity PAC reported a $250,000 check from Rex Sinquefield.  This is a pro-Eric Schmitt PAC.  I’ve written before about how most serious state senate and statewide candidates have independent PACs established to raise money in large donation amounts that their candidate committees are unable to accept due to contribution limits.

MO Opportunity had $122,834 on-hand as of their January quarter report.   With Sinquefield’s check, it has reported $290K in large contributions this month.

 

Dark Money STL

Elad Gross penned a piece on Medium (see it here) concerning a new non-profit designed to hide the source of political contribution.

Someone is trying to buy Missouri elections. We don’t know who they are or what they want. But we know they’re coming.

On January 30, 2019, an entity called the Joseph Wingate Folk Society became a Missouri nonprofit organization…

On January 31, 2019, someone formed a new PAC in Missouri called “Voters Organized Through Education StL (aka Vote-StL PAC).”

As a PAC involved in political activity, it must reveal the names of its donors. Because it’s so new, it hasn’t had to make any official reports yet, so the public cannot see who its donors are.

Except for one: The Joseph Wingate Folk Society.

That’s because the Joseph Wingate Folk Society has given large amounts to this PAC, so large that they have to be reported within a couple of days of their receipt. On February 19, the Joseph Wingate Folk Society gave the PAC $75,000. On February 22, it followed with $25,000.

We as voters do not get to see the original source of these donations…

Also

From Elad Gross on Friday…  Yesterday, the Cole County Circuit Court issued a subpoena for former Missouri Governor Eric Greitens at my request… Senator Josh Hawley is continuing to evade service on this same case. He has hired five attorneys to oppose my efforts to speak with him. Two of the attorneys are from the same firm that represents Eric Greitens' dark money organization - A New Missouri, Inc. - and three are from a firm in Washington, DC that has experience defending politicians involved in campaign finance violations….

 

Keller on Circuit Breaker

Rudi Keller takes on the latest attempt to end the renters’ portion of the circuit breaker tax credit.  See it here.    If you or I steal $50 or more from little old ladies or people who use wheelchairs, it’s called financial exploitation and it’s a felony.   If Missouri lawmakers succeed in taking $571 apiece from 90,981 senior citizens and people with disabilities, they will call it tax credit reform and run for re-election as frugal watchdogs of the public purse.   For the seventh time in nine years, there is a bill to take away the credit called the “circuit breaker” from people who rent their homes.

It’s been suggested to me that lawmakers who want this should play the long game here.  Instead of trying to repeal it, they should phase it out.  Grandfather current recipients, and close the program to new applicants.

 

Bits

·         MOScouter: Body language when every lawyer in the room would like to have your job...  See it here.

·         Mike Mahoney tweets on a Remington Research poll of the KC mayoral race.  See it here. Justus 18%, Miller 15% 29% UNDECIDED. Lucas, Reed Taylor, Wagner: 7% , Canady 6% Glynn 3%. Looks like it’s wide open for 4/2 Primary

·         Incumbent President of the St. Louis Board of Alderman Lewis Reed won the St. Louis Post-Dispatch endorsement.  See it here.  According to MOScout’s poll last weekend, the PD endorsement would make 26% of St. Louisans more likely to vote for a candidate.  9% would be less likely and it would make no difference to 65%.

·         Farm Bureau’s Blake Hurst talks about the trade war and soybean inventory.  See it here.

 

MEC Bits

The Missouri Ethics Commission issued two opinions.

·         Books, studies, and reports provided to executive branch employees are not "expenditures" as that term is defined in § 105.470. RSMo, therefore, they are not "gifts" prohibited by Executive Order 18-10.  See it here.

·         Section 130.028.2, RSMo, expressly prohibits an incorporated association from requiring its members to make mandatory contributions to a connected continuing committee or PAC.  See it here.

And

MEC dismissed a complaint against Sen. Jamilah NasheedSee it here.

 

New Committees

City of Fountains Committee was formed.  It’s a PAC.  Its treasurer is Kendall Seal.  Its deputy treasurer is Heather Grote.

Vicke Kepling formed a candidate committee (Vicke Kepling for MO 135) to run for House 135 under the Green Party.

 

Lobbyists Registrations

Ginger Steinmetz added Clay County, Autoreturn, and Credit Acceptance Corporation.  

 

Birthdays

Happy birthday to Rob Mayer.