Thursday, June 21, 2012

John Brunner Chickens Out

John Brunner
John Brunner
My post yesterday about John Brunner's past support of the radical Humane Farming Association elicited the following response from the Brunner campaign (via Gateway Pundit):
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.


MB said...

Let's compare Brunner's children with Todd Akin's. While Brunner's kids were having daddy pay for their extremist Occupy Wall Street causes, Akin' boys were occupying Falujah and Kandahar as Marine Corps Officers.

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Joey said...

Brunner earns MO Pork Association endorsement today

WrongOnRed said...

Steelman's Campaign needs to remove the plank from their own eye:

Gravelyvoice Jim said...

So if relying on your children for advise is such a bad thing, what does it say about Akin whose son Perry is his campaign manager? What about Steelman's sons working on her campaign?

Is Brunner being held to a higher standard?

dsm said...


I think that Steelman and Akin should do a spot congratulating Brunner on securing MO Pork.


LOL! Great catch!


The difference is that Brunner and his wife are identified as the only two trustees of the Brunner Foundation. As such, all disbursements from that foundation are legally at their discretion. Brunner's response seemingly abdicates that responsibility.

Gravelyvoice Jim said...

Darin - I wasn't referring to the issue with the funds. The statement I was referring to was:

"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? "

If you are going to question Brunner for this FICTITIOUS scenario you described, then why not ask the same question about Akin and Steelman who have IN FACT put their children in charge of their campaigns?

It seems like a double standard here.

Gravelyvoice Jim said...

Joey - would this be considered pork for Akin?

Timeshare Jake said...

Interesting how Patrick Tuohey, who is behind this dirt flinging on the part of the Sarah Steelman campaign, is connected to the radical animal rights organization Humane Society of the United States.

dsm said...


The Akin and Steelman campaigns cannot afford to hire people; therefore, they've turned to the inexpensive alternative of employing family members. There's no secret about that fact.

On the other hand, John Brunner and his wife are the only trustees of the Brunner Foundation. Releasing a statement that attributes the donation to his daughter and distances himself from HFA, obfuscates the fact that only he and his wife had the legal authority to make that donation. He frames the foundation as something he did for his children without acknowledging his own legal authority. In fact, to say "I, personally, have never supported the Humane Farming Association" is deceptive since, as one of two trustees of the Brunner Foundation, he did.

Brunner, unlike Akin and Steelman who have openly employed their children, shifted the blame for a decision that was his (and his wife's) to his children.


Yes. That's absolutely hilarious!