Monday, April 30, 2012

Dick Lugar Advertising in St. Louis Too!

Legal Insurrection is reporting (h/t: Instapundit):
Dick Lugar has announced that his campaign will target cell phone users browsing the internet in zip codes where Richard Mourdock events are taking place. 
The targeted ads will repeat the misleading claim, already debunked by, that Mourdock cheated on taxes.  This is yet another sign of Lugar desperation.
Oh, no, he's cast the net much wider than that!

Above is a screen capture I made a week ago of a Lugar ad. I live in St. Louis, Missouri, which is certainly closer to the precincts that will be voting in Indiana's May 8th primary than Dick Lugar's Virginia residence, but, alas, I am no more eligible to cast a ballot in that election than he is.

Please do your part to help Lugar's opponent Richard Mourdock. I have.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Video: A Tribute to Milton Friedman and the Humble Pencil

This is a great video tribute to Milton Friedman's famous segment on the humble pencil. From the FreeMarketAmerica description:
We're Milton Friedman fans. 
And we're believers in powerful but simple videos, too. 
Professor Friedman's famous video, entitled "I, Pencil," (based on Leonard Reed's essay of the same name) inspired us to take a closer look at the humble pencil.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Dick Lugar Gambles Big on Phonebanks


That's what Dick Lugar has spent to build what may be the largest phone-banking operation ever for a state-wide race in Indiana. And the number above is likely lower than the total cost.

Beginning in May of last year, Dick Lugar began sending checks to Suite 337; 6348 N. Milwaukee Ave.; Chicago, IL 60646. That's the address of a UPS Store and the suite number (337) appears to be the box address of two companies. These campaign disbursements were for "office equipment" according to the Senator's FEC filings. Here are the 21 expenditures that I found:

Date Expenditure Entity
05/17/11 $10,534.76 Victory Solutions
07/06/11 $7,563.66 Sherman Consulting
07/19/11 $2,500.00 Sherman Consulting
08/09/11 $5,203.56 Sherman Consulting
09/07/11 $1,629.94 Sherman Consulting
09/27/11 $523.00 Sherman Consulting
10/01/11 $5,511.10 Sherman Consulting
10/03/11 $4,063.66 Sherman Consulting
10/18/11 $4,830.31 Sherman Consulting
10/27/11 $1,028.07 Sherman Consulting
11/14/11 $9.77 Sherman Consulting
11/21/11 $2,559.00 Sherman Consulting
01/03/12 $4,063.66 Sherman Consulting
01/03/12 $9,783.90 Sherman Consulting
01/27/12 $4,737.32 Sherman Consulting
01/30/12 $16.78 Sherman Consulting
02/01/12 $3,484.33 Sherman Consulting
02/21/12 $1,706.00 Sherman Consulting
02/22/12 $9,392.96 Sherman Consulting
04/02/12 $1,873.22 Sherman Consulting
04/18/12 $20,747.54 Sherman Consulting


You can check these expenditures yourself in Lugar's FEC reports--please notify me of any omissions or errors.

The data is a little odd. There are multiple expenditures on the same day, months with as many as four payments, months without any payments, a huge range of expenditures ($9.77 to $20,747.54), and seemingly two different names on the checks--the first check went to "Victory Solutions" while the other twenty payments were to "Sherman Consulting".

I believe the Victory Solutions in question is the Ohio-based Victory Solutions specializing in phone banks and Voice Over IP (VoIP) for conservative campaigns and causes. Sherman Consulting is a Chicago-based conservative consulting company which lists VoIP and Telecom support among its core competencies. I suspect that Sherman was the "systems integrator" on the phone bank build-out and Victory was their subcontractor providing OEM phone banking equipment, VoIP boxes, and their custom software. If that's the case, then why are the payments to Sherman Consulting listed as "office equipment"? Wasn't Lugar buying "consulting services" with some of those dollars? Is Sherman a reseller of Victory's phone banking system? If it's really "office equipment" that Lugar bought, why so many expenditures?

Indiana does not allow political robocalls. That means a campaign needs hordes of volunteers to pick up the phone and call people (if the campaign is going to get their message out that way). Now, Fox News reported yesterday that the Lugar campaign has made 1.2 million phone calls. If you're making that many calls, then you'll want a phone system that can handle volume efficiently.

That's where Victory Solutions comes in. Victory Solutions has developed the technology to automate phone banking:
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — After running a big chunk of George Bush's grass-roots effort in Ohio in 2004, it struck Shannon Burns that it must be possible to make all those thousands of phone calls more efficiently. So he invented a way. 
The automated phone system Burns designed, called Victory VOIP, has allowed volunteers for Bush's would-be successor, Republican presidential nominee John McCain, to make thousands of calls to voters in the time it used to take to make hundreds. Burns' Cleveland-based company, Victory Solutions LLC, is now working for dozens of campaigns from federal to local in 16 states."
Furthermore, Victory's system lets volunteers make calls from their home. With a computer and your home phone, you're able to connect to Lugar's central phone bank through Victory's VoIP device. The system will call the next number on the list for you. It's a great bit of technology.

Nonetheless, it's odd that Dick Lugar sent $100k to a UPS box in Chicago with payments to two different companies one of which is based in Ohio. That's a lot of money for "office equipment." Why not find a Victory Solutions reseller in Indiana or buy direct?

Update: Thanks to Smitty at the OtherMcCain for the link!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Dick Lugar Spent $84k on Polling with Nothing to Show for it

I went through Dick Lugar's latest FEC reports this evening. I only looked at his April filing and his pre-primary filing. Since polling was in the news today, I wanted to see how much the senior senator from Indiana had spent on polling.

Lugar made four payments to New Jersey-based National Research Inc for "polling research". Here are the dates and dollars for those expenditures:

Date Expenditure
02/21/12 $46,252.00
03/12/12 $11,167.00
03/26/12 $16,167.00
04/09/12 $10,000.00


Simply put, two months ago he spent $46,252 on polling and nothing National Research told him was worth forwarding to the press.


Update: Thanks to Smitty at the OtherMcCain for the link!

Poll: Dick Lugar trails Richard Mourdock by 5%

Politico: Dick Lugar trails by 5, poll says:
Indiana Sen. Dick Lugar has fallen behind state Treasurer Richard Mourdock by five points, according to a new poll released exclusively to POLITICO. 
The survey, taken Tuesday and Wednesday by Wenzel Strategies on behalf of Citizens United, places Mourdock at 44 percent and Lugar at 39 percent. Nearly 17 percent remain undecided with just 12 days to go until the Indiana Senate primary.
The poll, sponsored by Citizens United, of 601 likely primary voters has a 4% confidence interval. It confirms the result of Mourdock's internal poll earlier this month.

Notably, Dick Lugar's over-hyped press conference yesterday afternoon was in the middle of the two day sample, so the full effect of that has probably not been factored in, but, honestly, the press conference was such a dud I doubt it moved any voters. Jim Shella covered it for WISH 8:

After building up expectations about surprising new revelations about Richard Mourdock, the final announcement yesterday--that twenty years ago Mourdock indicated that he supported the fairness doctrine--was a let down. Whatever Mourdock's position in 1992, he certainly does not support the fairness doctrine today. Mourdock spokesman Chris Conner had this to say about the Lugar press event:
“This is a truly pathetic attempt by the Lugar campaign to manufacture media attention as their campaign hemorrhages in the polls.”
Kurt Luidhardt's reaction on twitter captured the moment perfectly:

Don't get cocky. While Mourdock has the momentum, he still needs to win on May 8th. It's all about get-out-the-vote (GOTV) now.

Richard Mourdock TV Spot: Too Long

From the Mourdock press release:
INDIANAPOLIS (April 25, 2012) – Indiana State Treasurer Richard Mourdock, conservative U.S. Senate Candidate in the Republican Primary on May 8th against 36 year incumbent Dick Lugar, announced the airing of “Too Long” a TV ad recapping how the Senator has lost touch with his conservative Hoosier roots. 
“After 36 years in Washington, D.C., Dick Lugar has truly lost touch with his conservative Hoosier values by voting for Obama’s liberal Supreme Court judges, amnesty for illegal immigrants, supporting higher taxes and even appearing in President Obama’s campaign commercials in 2008,” stated Mourdock spokesman Christopher Conner. 
Last Wednesday, the Mourdock campaign released a poll showing Mourdock leading Lugar in this race 42% to 41%. 
VO: When Dick Lugar moved to Washington, he left behind more than his house. He left behind his conservative Hoosier values.
Voting for more earmarks,Vote #8, S. Amdt. 1472 to S. Amdt. 1470 to S. 2038, 02/02/2012.
Obama’s liberal Supreme Court choices,Vote #262, PN506, 8/06/2009.
Vote #107, PN67, 03/19/2009.
Amnesty for illegals,Vote #625, HR5281, 12/18/2010.
Even supporting a dollar a gallon gas tax.The Washington Post, 2/1/2009
Now they call him, “Obama’s Favorite Republican.”MSNBC, 10/17/2008.
Lugar’s been in Washington thirty-six years.
That’s too long.
Time for a change.
I’m Richard Mourdock, and I approve this messagePaid for by Hoosiers for Richard Mourdock, Inc. Approved by Richard Mourdock.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Richard Mourdock: Blazing a New Trail to Victory

In Indiana, State Treasurer Richard Mourdock is blazing a trail to clear the way for future conservative grassroots (Tea Party) campaigns against entrenched interests and their proxies in the US Senate like Mourdock's primary opponent, Dick Lugar. Allysia Finley of the Wall Street Journal wrote about Mourdock's insurgent campaign earlier this week and concluded [emphasis added]:
Mr. Mourdock isn't endearing himself to the party's elders by picking a fight with Grandpa. But Republicans need fighters in the Senate, not diplomats. President Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid have shown no intention of negotiating in good faith with Republicans. So accomplishing tax and entitlement reform will require the GOP to win the war of public opinion. Indiana's gutsy and articulate tea partier is just the kind of guy Republicans need on the frontlines.
I will take exception to the line in bold above. It was Indiana's Republican party elders that came to Mourdock and asked him to run. In February of last year Mourdock had the support of over three-quarters of Indiana Republican County Chairmen. Here he is explaining that:

It's the establishment elders of the Republican apparatus in DC that have opposed Mourdock and fought instead to conserve the status quo. In winning the support of Indiana's GOP county chairmen, Richard Mourdock had taken the first step to state-wide victory. A step articulate by Phyllis Schlafly in her 1964 book: A Choice Not an Echo. I interviewed Schlafly about that book two years ago. Here she is talking about the importance of having a plan to take over the party:

Mourdock also benefited from a grassroots groundswell of Tea Party support. In September of last year, Indiana Tea Parties confirmed the sentiments of the GOP county chairmen when they voted 96 to 1 in favor of Mourdock.

With that kind of grassroots support, groups like Schlafly's Eagle Forum have endorsed Richard Mourdock. In fact, Mourdock has benefited from numerous, conservative endorsements while Lugar has gotten the dubious endorsements of John McCain and Arlene Specter.

Endorsements and grassroots support for a candidate are useless unless they are galvanized into the party apparatus. Utah provides two illustrative examples. In 2010 Tea Partiers were able to force Bob Bennet into a primary and ultimately elect Tea Party favorite Mike Lee. This year they've forced Orrin Hatch into a primary. Grassroots success in Utah is in part due to the unique system that state uses to select their candidates. At the state party convention, if a candidate does not receive 60% of the vote from the delegates, then they must run against the person who received the second most delegate votes in a state-wide primary. Hopefully, Dan Liljenquist will be able to unseat 36-year incumbent Orrin Hatch.

The system in Utah favors the candidates who are able to get their supporters to show up to the state convention. It also clears the field of tertiary candidates that bleed money and activists from the most credible challenger. I'd love to see that system adopted in my own state of Missouri.

In the 2010 US Senate GOP primary in Missouri, Tea Party favorite Chuck Purgason had good grassroots support; however, there were other, credible Tea Party challengers in that race. Purgason's real problem was that he was never able to overcome his money deficit. He simply couldn't afford the radio and TV airtime he needed to boost his name recognition.

Garnering a groundswell of grassroots support to transform the state party is the first step. The second step in the plan is money, lots and lots of money.

The reality is that state-wide elections are driven by name recognition. They are, sadly, popularity contests.

Unfortunately, conservative grassroots activists rarely have the money to make a difference. In 2010, when establishment conservative interests aligned with Tea Party interests, funding was readily available from establishment sources for Tea Party candidates. In 2012 that's no longer the case. Without the money to mount the air war on TV and radio, Tea Party candidates have little chance of beating their incumbent opponents.

In Indiana Club 4 Growth, the NRA, and FreedomWorks have funded significant portions of the air war. It remains to be seen if that will be sufficient to push Mourdock over the top on May 8th, but, for now, it's enough to give him a shot. A recent poll shows Mourdock has the momentum to unseat Lugar.

Mourdock now has to confront an onslaught from Lugar's DC PACs. I will have a post about who's mounting Lugar's counter attack soon.

Update: Thanks to Smitty at the OtherMcCain for the link!

Video: Claire McCaskill Unabashedly Follows President Obama

From the Crossroads GPS press release:
WASHINGTON – Crossroads Grassroots Policy Strategies (Crossroads GPS) today began airing a new issue ad exposing Claire McCaskill’s reckless spending agenda in the U.S. Senate. 
The spot, titled “Quote Leadership,” will run for two weeks with a buy totaling $315,000. The new ad can be viewed here: 
“Claire McCaskill continues to unabashedly follow President Obama and pile up mounds of new debt instead of earnestly tackling the economic and financial problems our country faces,” said Crossroads GPS Director of State and Regional Media Relations. “This spot intends to alert Missourians to the anti-job policies Claire McCaskill supports in Washington when she should be pushing real economic solutions to create jobs in Missouri.” 
Crossroads GPS is a policy and grassroots advocacy organization that is committed to educating, equipping and mobilizing millions of American citizens to take action on the critical economic and legislative issues that will shape our nation’s future in the years ahead. 
For more information or to arrange an interview, contact Nate Hodson at or 202-370-6604.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Did Claire McCaskill Violate Senate Ethics Rules?

The Daily Caller: Claire McCaskill | Senate Fundraising Rules:
“I’m asking regular folks to be my super PAC,” Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill said on MSNBC’s “Hardball with Chris Matthews” from inside the rotunda of the Russell Senate Office Building while discussing how super PACs are targeting her.
However, that appears to run afoul of Senate ethics rules:
“Senate members and staff may not receive or solicit campaign contributions in any federal building,” according to the Senate Ethics Committee website, which also declares: “No Campaign Activity in a Federal Building.” 
It is against the law to fundraise on government property.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Can Romney Win the Wealthy?

The Weekly Standard Can Romney Win Back the Wealthy Suburbs?:
...the party already is continuously blasted by Democrats for being unduly dependent upon the demands of the wealthy. Given that this is never going to change, wouldn’t it be nice if the party could actually win the wealthy?

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Missouri's 2012 First Congressional District Republican Convention

David Stokes was Elected to be the GOP
Presidential Elector from MO1
The 2012 First Congressional District Republican Convention of Missouri was held at Forest Park Community College Saturday. It began at 10AM and dragged into the afternoon. The convention seemed to proceed at a glacial pace most of the morning. There was some confusion about how long the room rented for the Convention was available. Ultimately the convention moved outside briefly before the room was secured for the afternoon.

David Stokes of the Show Me Institute was elected to be the Republican Presidential Elector from Missouri's First Congressional District. A unity slate of delegates was elected to represent the 1st CD at the Republican National Convention in Tampa this summer. That means that Mitt Romney, Ron Paul, and Rick Santorum each received one delegate and one alternate delegate.

I recorded about an hour and forty-five minutes of the convention (podium angle or audience angle). The batteries in both of my cameras gave out around the same time, so I was unable to get the whole thing.

The Convention had some controversy. Two Ron Paul delegates, Luke Rohlfing and Steve Gleason, were challenged. Rohlfing was deemed ineligible and not seated at the convention, while Gleason won a vote with overwhelming support to secure his seat. Both young men offered impassioned defenses of their right to participate in the Convention.

Gleason's eligibility to serve as a delegate was challenged because, it was alleged, he claimed to be a "Libertarian" on his Facebook page. The body voted to seat Gleason. He recieved 78 votes of a possible 102 (with an abstention for the seat Gleason ultimately won). Noteably, Missouri's Auditor, Tom Schweich, voted to seat Gleason.

Rohlfing is a 17 year old resident of St. Louis County. His eligibility to be a delegate to the 1st CD GOP Convention was challenged because he is not yet the voting age--18 years old. Missouri allows 17 year olds to register to vote if they will be 18 by the time of the general election. Rohlfing made an impassioned plea in his own defense, but it was not enough to overcome the rule of the Temporary Chairman.

The call to convention is a little ambiguous on this point. In particular, it reads:
Only strong and faithful Republican voters, residing and registered to vote in the district involved, shall be allowed to participate in any caucus or convention. Only Republicans who are registered voters residing in the district of their election shall be elected as delegates or alternates. No delegate shall cast a fractional vote.
Rohlfing was "registered to vote" but I can understand the point of the Temporary Chairman that he's not a "registered voter". However, this kind of legal hair splitting only serves to drive wedges between Republicans.

While I disagree with the Temporary Chairman's decision not to seat Rohlfing, I can understand why and how he and others reached that decision. However, the attempt to expel Gleason was frivolous and should never have been brought.

It took almost an hour and forty-five minutes to constitute the body. It seems to me that the Gleason challenge was a dilatory tactic designed to further the objectives of one faction by potentially expelling a Ron Paul delegate while also "running out the clock".

Rohlfing obviously has many caucuses and conventions ahead of him. Gleason was also on the younger side of the mean age of Saturday's conventioneers. Bill Hennessy recently pointed me to some advice which the Missouri GOP should heedNever piss the young people off, because they grow up. -- Google CEO Eric Schmidt.

Photos from the Convention:

Todd Akin at Bonhomme Republican Women's Club

Todd Akin talks about his campaign for US Senate at the Bonhomme Republican Women's Club on Friday. Akin noted the overwhelming debt confronting the country. He also reviewed his record and his vision for the state and the country.

Akin faces a crowded Republican primary against John Brunner, Sarah Steelman, and Hector Maldonado.

Thanks to Bob Keough for filming this!

Ann Wagner at the Bonhomme Republican Women's Club

Ann Wagner spoke to the Bonhomme Republican Women's Club this past Friday. Wagner talked about the importance of getting out the vote and noted that several Republicans running for state representative and senatorial seats are running unopposed.

Wagner is opposed in the Republican primary by Randy Jotte.

Thanks to Bob Keough for filming this!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Dave Spence at the Bonhomme Republican Womens Club

Dave Spence is running for Governor of Missouri. He faces Bill Randles in the Republican primary and, if he wins the primary, he'll face Jay Nixon in November. Spence talks about his plans to revitalize the economy of Missouri. He also notes Nixon's pay-to-play approach to running the state.

Thanks to Bob Keough for filming this!

Friday, April 20, 2012

After Party: Better Courts for Missouri

Michelle Moore, executive director of the St. Louis Tea Party, introduced James Harris to a crowd of about 70 people at last night's After Party in Clayton. Harris discuses the problems with the way that Missouri selects judges and how the state would be better served by something other than "the Missouri Plan". Harris's group, Better Courts for Missouri, is working with the Missouri legislature to get a constitutional reform amendment on the ballot.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Poll: Steelman bests McCaskill 49% to 42%

Election 2012: Missouri Senate - Rasmussen Reports:
Two of her three Republican challengers still lead Democratic incumbent Claire McCaskill in Missouri’s 2012 U.S. Senate race but by slightly narrower margins. 
The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of Likely Voters in Missouri finds former State Treasurer Sarah Steelman ahead of McCaskill by seven points – 49% to 42%. Steelman had a 10-point lead a month ago.  Two percent (2%) still prefer another candidate given this matchup, and six percent (6%) are undecided. 
Congressman Todd Akin posts a five-point lead over McCaskill – 48% to 43%. Two percent (2%) like someone else in the race, and seven percent (7%) are undecided. Last month, Akin led by seven. 
The incumbent also trailed retired businessman John Brunner by seven points in mid-March, but now the two run dead even with 45% support each.  Three percent (3%) favor some other candidate, and seven percent (7%) are undecided.
I'm hoping that Hector Maldonado can get some traction. Arguably, he's already debated Clare McCaskill once, so he's battle tested:

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Poll: Richard Mourdock takes +6% from Dick Lugar

The Mourdock campaign trumpeted the results of their latest internal poll which shows Richard Mourdock (R-IN) with 42% to incumbent Dick Lugar's (R-IN) 41% with a +/-4.9% confidence interval. The poll was conducted by McLaughlin & Associates. A sample of 400 likely Republican primary election voters in Indiana were interviewed for the poll on April 16-17.

This poll showed that Mourdock has improved his position over where he polled in January. His favorable rating, 46%, went up 11 points from where it stood three months ago while Lugar's favorable number dropped 10 points to 47%.

The most impressive aspect of the poll was where Richard Mourdock found his new support. As the chart below illustrates, Mourdock took his +6 point gain right out of Dick Lugar's hide:

What those numbers show is that there's a stream of voters migrating from Dick Lugar possibly through "undecided" and ultimately to Richard Mourdock. Because Mourdock's +6 and Lugar's -7 are both greater than the +/-4.9 margin of error, this poll shows that Mourdock has the momentum.

Going forward the challenge will be for Mourdock to maintain that momentum through the May 8th primary. Meanwhile, HotAir notes that Dick Lugar has his work cut out for him:
They had a debate and Mourdock’s suddenly outraising the incumbent and even establishment conservative magazines like National Review are ready to trade Lugar in for new blood. What’s a six-term incumbent who’s in trouble to do? Why, call in the big guns
And those big guns are Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels (R-IN) and Sen. John McCain (R-AZ). Daniels I understand, but McCain seems like a tone-deaf choice. Seriously, if you're bringing in McCain to shore up your position with, presumably, conservative Republican primary voters, well, why not invite Arlen Specter, too?

Update: Hey, Smitty, thanks for the link from your post about Mitch Daniels!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

EnerDel: $12 Million from Indiana Taxpayers

Photo by Egil Kvaleberg
EnerDel is a manufacturer of batteries for electric vehicles like the Think Global Pivco PIV3 car pictured at right. They've received a lot of tax payer money to research and build new "green" EV car batteries including $118 million in stimulus grants.

Dick Lugar

Sentor Dick Lugar (R-IN) was instrumental in steering that money to the "green" battery manufacturer. Lugar also earmarked $6.5 million to the company. But to top it all off, the spreadsheet data which accompanies the Good Jobs First report* (h/t: Instapundit) that came out yesterday, indicates that EnerDel recieved about $12 million from Indiana taxpayers. EnerDel was second only to Arcadia Resources, Inc. among Indiana companies receiving Indiana tax credits and rebates.

Dick Lugar's fifth largest contributor, Cummins, Inc., came in sixth in Indiana in the Good Jobs First data with tax credits and rebates totaling $5 million. A few Cummins employees also donated to Richard Mourdock (R-IN). Mourdock hopes to unseat Obama's favorite Republican in Indiana's May 8th primary.

Click on the image below for more details or download the spreadsheet and find the companies in your state that you're subsidizing.


Last October EnerDel's parent company, Ener1, was de-listed from the NASDAQ. This past January, Ener1 declared bankruptcy. In short, it's the Solyndra of Indiana. And just as Obama took credit for Solyndra's "success" in 2011 and distance himself from it earlier this year, we see Dick Lugar praising EnerDel when the money was awarded--touring the factory even--while going AWOL now. Indiana needs to replace him on May 8th with someone who will be accountable to Hoosier voters: Richard Mourdock.

* The Good Jobs First report "Paying Taxes to the Boss" argues that state tax credit and rebate programs for corporations as well as state grants to companies are like your boss collecting and keeping state income taxes. I would argue that such programs are incentives offered by central planners at the state capital. In short, I disagree on the spin, but agree that they need to end.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Jay Nixon's Sweet Centene Deal?

In 2011, Centene Corporation received nearly $4 million in aid from the state of Missouri according to the left-leaning Good Jobs First. Was this another quid pro quo from Jay Nixon? Cenetene is the company that's involved in what looks like a pay-to-play scheme orchestrated by Missouri Governor Jay Nixon. Gateway Pundit has more about that story.

I learned about this the $3.9 million illustrated above from Instapundit who linked David Johnston's write up: Taxed by the boss:
Across the United States more than 2,700 companies are collecting state income taxes from hundreds of thousands of workers – and are keeping the money with the states’ approval, says an eye-opening report published on Thursday.
I'm a little skeptical of that description. If true, then states have transferred some of their tax authority to private corporations while misleading the public about who is really responsible. I don't think that's really the case. When I looked at the source data, I noticed that there's a "subsidy_type" column which lists things like "tax credit" and "grant", so I suspect that the "paying taxes to the boss" is mostly spin intended to demonize corporations and management.

That said, this sort of corporate welfare needs to end. It's the modern equivalent of medieval patronage.

The Show Me Institute's Audrey Spalding wrote last week that at least Missouri is transparent about our crony capitalism:
The Pew Center on the States has published a review of the transparency of state tax incentive programs. Some Missouri legislators, of course, are big fans of tax credits — the Missouri government issued about $500 million last year, and during the 2011 legislative session, some legislators pushed very hard for legislation to create nearly another $400 million in tax credits.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Dick Lugar's Fiscal Reality

Monthly Federal Surplus/Deficit (blue, right axis) and Total Federal Government Debt (red, left axis) since 1977
Dick Lugar was first elected to the US Senate in 1976 and began his career in Washington, DC, in January of 1977. As the chart above from the St. Louis Federal Reserve illustrates, there have been a few budget deficits on his watch--and a couple surpluses. Here are some fun facts about the fiscal reality confronting Dick Lugar as he faces a tough May 8th primary against Tea Party favorite Richard Mourdock:

  • Total federal debt when Lugar went to DC in 1977: about $670 billion
  • Total federal debt now (via US Debt Clock): about $15.64 trillion
  • Before the May 8 Indiana primary, $15 trillion of new debt will have been added on Lugar's watch
  • Total 2012 fiscal deficit to date (10/1/11 thru 3/31/12): $779 billion
  • That's over $100 billion more than the total accumulated debt of the US when Lugar arrived in DC in 1977
Dick Lugar has failed to reign in government spending. It's time for Richard Mourdock.

Update: Thanks to Smitty at the OtherMcCain for the link!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Video: Jefferson County Caucus Outtakes

The video above covers points that I raised in my two posts so far about the Jefferson County caucus. Please read my St. Patrick's Day Death March and my take on the use of a draft call to convention for more information about those issues. The video above includes footage of caucus goers entering and exiting via the back door in violation of caucus procedures.

More to come...

Jefferson County GOP Caucus Used a Draft Call to Convention

The pictures above were taken at the March 17th Jefferson County Republican caucus. They are photographs of the Missouri Republican Party's Call to Convention; however, there's a problem with that document. It's a draft version, not the official call to convention issued by the Missouri GOP.

If you click through the photographs above, you'll notice that there are large, faded letters in the middle of each page. The "R" on the first page isn't even recognizable, but on other pages you can usually make out one to three 4" high letters of the word "DRAFT". These pages were obviously photocopied and that process obscured the "DRAFT" watermark.

Before we get to the main question--Why would a draft version of the call to convention be used?--let's recall that in Jefferson County, as in St. Charles county, the central committee attempted to ban cameras and recording devices.

As you can see in that sign--making some allowance for the spelling of "electronic"--cameras were prohibited. Perhaps part of the reason for prohibiting cameras was because the organizers did not want anyone to know that they were using a draft call to convention.

So, why use a draft call to convention?

The draft document used in Jefferson County included language that would bind the caucus's delegation to the results of Missouri's February presidential preference primary (paragraphs 3 thru 5). However, the final and official call to convention includes the following language instead of those three paragraphs and specifically precludes the binding of delegates to the February caucus results:
No delegate to the Republican National Convention shall be bound by the results of any Republican Presidential Primary held before March 6, 2012. Upon being nominated and prior to any vote to elect national convention delegates or national convention alternate delegates, each nominee for national convention delegate or national convention alternate delegate shall notify the chair of the Congressional District Convention or of the State Convention, as appropriate, of the Republican Presidential Candidate who that nominee pledges to support on the first ballot at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida. No nominee shall identify more than one Republican Presidential Candidate who that nominee pledges to support if elected as a national convention delegate or national convention alternate delegate. Prior to any vote to elect national convention delegates or national convention alternate delegates, the chair shall announce the Republican Presidential Candidate who each nominee will be pledged to support. National convention delegates and national convention alternate delegates chosen at the Conventions must pledge their support to the Republican Presidential Candidate who they identified at the Convention at which they were elected and will be bound to cast their vote for said candidate on the first ballot at the Republican National Convention.
It stands to reason that a draft version of the call to convention was used in an effort to bind the caucus's delegation to Rick Santorum--the winner of the February presidential preference primary. However, Hanlon's Razor suggests an alternative explanation: incompetence. So take your pick: 1) disingenuous political maneuvering or 2) ham-handed event preparation.

More to come...
Below the "read more" link is an animation of the photographs of the draft call to convention. It runs through the pages twice. On the second iteration, the word "DRAFT" is overlaid to make the original watermark a little easier to recognize.