Reps. Tim Flook, R-Clay County, and Jason Kander, D-Kansas City, were in Jefferson City this morning to introduce legislation they say could help improve the political climate in the Show Me State.
Among other things, the proposed bill would only allow certain committees to donate to candidate committees, force political consultants who work for corporations to register as lobbyists and make it a crime to obstruct an investigation from the Missouri Ethics Commission. It would also make it a state crime to trade legislative action for campaign contributions.
Here's a short clip of Flook and Kander talking about their bill:
While Messenger noted that the device has been used in some serious situations, the column did remind me of an embarrassing moment for the Minnesota Vikings that didn't involve sex boats.
Several years ago, Onterrio Smith was selected as the Vikings' fourth round draft choice. For whatever reason, he decided to declare himself the "Steal of the Draft" by shaving the letters "S.O.D." into his head. And for whatever reason, that enough for this fantasy footballer to place the Oregon Duck on his perennially underachieving team.
But all that came to a screeching halt when Smith was caught in Minneapolis' airport with a mysterious device. That object turned out to be the "Original Whizzinator," the same type of device Roorda is trying to outlaw. Smith never played in the NFL again.
Apparently, the device was about to be sold at auction. But if Roorda had his way, you couldn't bring the prized possession that brought Smith's career to halt into the Show Me State.
Thus concludes a lame attempt of a Bears fan to make himself feel better about his terrible team.
The move brings about some questions about the future of Republican electoral politics.
Before and since leaving the Missouri House, Jetton operated a consulting business that counted a number of major politicians as clients. Included on that list were House Speaker-designate Steve Tilley, R-Perryville, Rep. Tim Jones, R-Eureka, Sen. Jason Crowell, R-Cape Girardeau, and Sen. Luann Ridgeway, R-Smithville. Jetton also did consulting work Mitt Romney's presidential campaign.
The rivalry spilled out into the electoral arena. Jetton, for instance, was the consultant for Bob Onder's unsuccessful congressional campaign. Barklage, Harris and Roe teamed up to assist Blaine Luetkemeyer, a Republican who eventually went on to win the general election. The consultant skirmish even became a side story in the 2008 election cycle, to some extent.
So now that Jetton's consulting business is no more, what happens now? It's hard to say.
In Missouri, there are numerous parts of the state where a political party is dominant. For Democrats, that's in the major cities. And for Republicans, it's in the rural areas of the state and some of the suburbs.
Therefore, it's not out of the question that multiple candidates emerge when there's an electoral vacancy. There will be numerous Republican candidates seeking Sen. Delbert Scott's Senate seat, for instance, because winning that primary essentially assures the winner of an eight-year state Senate term. That's the same reason why a number of Democrats are seeking Sen. Joan Bray's seat.
Major candidates are going to spend a lot of money. And since a political consultant isn't going to work for multiple candidates in a single contest, there will probably be a inter-party competition within the GOP. A similar situation will likely continue within the Democratic Party as well.
And so, it would not be surprising if another Republican political consultant emerges out of Jetton's ashes. For the record, I'm predicting it will be this guy.
The post stated that a probable cause statement said that a woman accused Jetton of hitting her on the face and choking her, leaving bruises. The Star went on to say that the probable cause statement noted that the two agreed on a "safe word" "to use as a stop word during intercourse."
Case.net records state that a warrant has been issued for Jetton's arrest, with bond set at $2,500.
Jetton served as the most powerful House Republican from 2005 to 2009. He left electoral politics to become a political consultant.
State Rep. Gary Dusenberg, R-Blue Springs, could also run in the race to succeed Bartle. And Yates noted in the Examiner article that he would endorse "a conservative candidate" for the position this week.
Bartle's seat is overwhelmingly Republican and it widely assumed that the winner of the GOP primary will become the next state senator from the district.
Other state House members who have bailed out early include Steve Brown, Ed Wildberger, T.D. El-Amin and Dennis Wood. Wildberger and Wood took appointments from Gov. Jay Nixon to county positions, while Brown and El-Amin stepped down after pleading guilty to felonies.
House Speaker Ron Richard, R-Joplin, issued the following statement concerning Gov. Jay Nixon's announcement regarding higher education funding:
House of Representatives, we work each year to provide Missouri students with the tools necessary
to compete in our highly competitive global economy. There is no question
that House Republicans want to keep higher education tuition as low as possible,
even in a time of economic devastation.
We appreciate the
Governor’s tuition proposal and will put it through the normal process,
along with any other budget recommendations from the Governor.
difficult times, we realize the importance of easing the financial burden on Missouri students and
their families in every way possible and will consider this when crafting next
Nixon announced today that he would cut funding for higher education
institutions by roughly 5.2 percent in exchange for a tuition freeze.
Gov. Jay Nixon appointed Rep. Ed Wildberger, D-St. Joseph, to be the recorder of deeds for Buchanan County. Nixon's office announced in a press release that the term-limited lawmaker resigned his seat in the General Assembly to the take position.
“I thank Gov. Nixon for
giving me this new opportunity to serve the people of the county I have always
called my home,” Wildberger said in statement. “I appreciate being able to work
closely with the Governor during my time in the House and his time as Governor
and as Attorney General, and I pledge to serve the people of Buchanan County to
the best of my ability as their new recorder.”
Wildberger unsuccessfully challenged House Minority Leader Paul LeVota, D-Independence, for his position after the 2008 election cycle. He was seen as possible candidate for a state Senate seat in Buchanan and Platte counties, but deferred to state Rep. Martin Rucker, D-St. Joseph.
So far, four state lawmakers have left the Missouri House since the legislature adjourned. Former Democratic Reps. Steve Brown and T.D. El-Amin departed after pleading guilty to federal charges. Former Rep. Dennis Wood left to take a position in Stone County.
Nixon set the election for Wildberger's replacement for Feb. 4, 2010.
It's not a terribly surprising development. The first-term chief executive has been strongly supportive about limiting campaign contributions for years. He often cites a U.S. Supreme Court case that he handled that allowed limited contributions in the Show Me State. Other Democratic lawmakers - such as House Minority Leader Paul LeVota, D-Independence, and Rep. Jason Kander, D-Kansas City - have also called for the restoration of limits.
I discussed the pros and cons of the current campaign finance system in last week's KBIA commentary. So I won't rehash those arguments here. But it's worth reiterating that the change LeVota, Kander and Nixon want have a very slim chance of passing through the legislature.
- A hypothetical vote could be close in the Missouri House, where several Republicans broke ranks and voted against repealing limits in 2008. The bill only passed 84-71 in 2008, a time when Republicans had a bigger majority than today. Whether that bill is ever allowed to see the light of the day is an open question, but it's not impossible.
- Any bill to reinstate limits would almost certainly falter in the Senate. For starters, the sponsor of the 2008 repeal - Sen. Charlie Shields - is now the Senate President Pro Tem. That gives him power to direct bills to committees. It's not out of the question that Shields would drop the bill into a legislative abyss. The Star's follow up story pretty much showcased this likelihood.
- But let's say a senator tries to attach campaign finance limits onto a bill. Only one Republican senator - Sen. Tom Dempsey, R-St. Charles - voted against the measure in 2008.
- Three Democrats who are still senators - Senate Minority Leader Victor Callahan, D-Independence, Sen. Tim Green, D-Spanish Lake, and Sen. Ryan McKenna, D-Jefferson County - voted for repealing the limits in 2008. The two other Democrats who affirmed the current system were replaced with Republicans who would likely vote against repealing limits. One of the Democratic "no" votes - Sen. Chuck Graham, D-Columbia - was replaced last election cycle with a Republican.
The point is that legislative enactment of campaign finance limits this session is unlikely. And even if the Democrats take back the Missouri House, the likely Republican hold of the Missouri Senate makes a reenactment difficult to imagine.
If proponents of a limited system want to achieve their goal, it will most likely be through the initiative petition process.