U.S. Senate candidate John Brunner released the following statement in response to attacks from Sarah Steelman’s campaign regarding a donation to the Humane Farming Association:
“As a young child, my father taught me the value of charitable giving and I passed those same, important, values on to my children.
In that spirit, I set up the Brunner Foundation to encourage my children to become active in charity. I made it clear that each of them could give to the charity of their choice and that it would remain, solely, each child’s individual decision.
In 2007, one of my children chose as a beneficiary the Humane Farming Association. I am extremely proud of my children, but, as with most families, I do not always agree with their choices or decisions. Regrettably, there are organizations that far too often use deceptive rhetoric and tactics to deceive well-meaning people into supporting their far more dangerous agendas. But, let me be perfectly clear, I, personally, have never supported the Humane Farming Association.
As Missouri’s next citizen-Senator, I pledge to fight for Missouri’s agribusiness by halting absurd EPA mandates, work tirelessly to repeal crippling regulations, and eliminate barriers to trade that are preventing Missouri farmers from exporting their crops. I firmly stand with Missouri farmers who are in a constant struggle against extreme groups like the Humane Farming Association and the Humane Society of the United States that seek to end the agriculture industry in Missouri.
Furthermore, I fully expect that families remain free from political attacks. I will keep this campaign focused on the issues and I fully expect my fellow opponents to do the same.Rather than a bold statement, he seems to have chickened out. His closing caveat about families remaining "free from political attacks" is interesting. It's as if he realized only afterward that he himself just inserted his family into the story. Um, John, don't do that again until after the November election.
As MoSenateRace clarified, Brunner's children are not trustees of the Brunner Foundation. Only John and his wife are, so Brunner (and his wife) are ultimately responsible for the donation decisions of the Foundation.
In a way it's laudable that Brunner would share the stewardship of his Foundation with his children. As a stay-at-home dad, I sometimes let my children help prepare dinner and assist with other work around the house. That's one aspect of raising a family.
Of course, in another way it's rather horrifying. If Brunner is elected to the US Senate, will he share the responsibilities of that office with his children? Would his son, say, be in charge of making decisions for his US Senate office on all Department of Defense issues? Does his daughter have more of an aptitude for military affairs? Will they squabble over whether or not the MRE's include free-range chicken?
I don't think that Brunner's candor about his parenting techniques is in the best interests of his campaign. Talking about his children may endear him to his supporters, but it makes his family a potential target in the media. It also feels like he's shifting the blame to a family member much as his Democrat opponent Senator Claire McCaskill once did over her back taxes (from the 8/14/2004 KC Star):
As for the condo at the Lake of the Ozarks, McCaskill acknowledged there were unpaid taxes on it in 1994, when her brother, Will, was living in it. The Kansas City Star reported the story in 1994 after Camden County published a notice that it was going to put the house up for auction.
"The agreement was he (Will) was supposed to cover all taxes, overhead, everything - utilities, taxes, condo fees - so he didn't have to pay rent," McCaskill said. "My brother didn't pay them."
McCaskill's brother later paid the $2,337 in taxes dating to 1991, and the property was sold soon afterward.