Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Victory! Tea Party Candidate Ted Cruz beats David Dewhurst

Ted Cruz (photo: Gage Skidmore)
ABC News: Ted Cruz Wins In Texas GOP Senate Runoff:
The AP projects that Tea Party star Ted Cruz will win the Texas Republican Senate primary, defeating “establishment” candidate and longtime Lieutenant Gov. David Dewhurst. 
In the past several weeks victory for Cruz, the former solicitor general, had begun to look increasingly likely, with polls showing him ahead of Dewhurst, and major national Tea Party stars like Sarah Palin and Sen. Jim DeMint turning out to campaign for him in the final days leading up to the runoff. However, for the bulk of the race Cruz had been the underdog, lacking in the wealth and name recognition enjoyed by Dewhurst, who has been the lieutenant governor under Rick Perry since 2003.
This is a huge victory for conservatives. The Cruz team is celebrating with Chick-fil-A at their victory party.

Video: Introducing Carlos May

Republican Carlos May is running for the US House of Representatives in Indiana's 7th Congressional District. That's the seat currently held by Democrat Andre Carson. I had the opportunity to interview May yesterday morning. In this first segment from that interview, he talks about his Hoosier roots, growing up around the country in a military family, his work and government experience, and why he's running for Congress.

Update: Thanks to Gateway Pundit for linking and reporting on the threats made against Carlos MayAdvance Indiana also has more--thanks for running my video! Advance Indiana was also the first to report on the dead flowers delivered to May.

Video: Richard Mourdock on Jobs and the Economy

Yesterday, I interviewed Republican candidate for the US Senate from Indiana Richard Moudock. In this segment from that interview, Mourdock talks about the importance of getting the federal government and regulations out of the way of businesses so that they can drive the revitalization of our economy.

Update: Thanks to Professor Jacobson at Legal Insurrection for the link and the reminder that Mourdock's campaign needs your donations to carry on the fight against Joe Donnelly (D-IN) and Obama's agenda.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Video: Brad Lager on Getting Government Out of the Way of Business

Republican candidate for Missouri Lieutenant Governor Brad Lager spoke at state senator Jim Lembke's birthday fundraiser this past weekend. Lager spoke about the importance of economic issues and the need for government to get out of the way of businesses. As a business owner and job creator himself, Lager understands the impediments that government regulations and bureaucrats put in the way of America's engine of prosperity: small businesses.

Video: GOP Senate Candidate Hector Maldonado Stands with Sheriff Joe Arpaio

The two part video above produced by ConservativeTVOnline features Hector Maldonado, a Republican candidate for US Senate in Missouri. Hector posted the videos on his campaign website with following message:
If there’s one guy I know who is not getting a fair shake from the MSM, it’s Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio. Please join me in lending him our support. Please take the time to watch these videos. In doing so, you will learn the truth. 
Thank you, 
Hector Maldonado
Maldonado took the time to travel to Arizona and interview Sheriff Joe about border control. The videos above clarify how the Federal government has targeted the Sheriff because of his efforts to enforce existing immigration laws. I find it commendable that a week out from his own primary, Maldonado took the time to solicit help for someone else.

While immigration issues are only a secondary consideration for me when deciding which candidate to vote for in Missouri's August 7th primary, I admire the leadership that Maldonado has shown here. It's consistent with what I've seen from him in the past.

To date, I've been disappointed with Sarah Steelman, Todd Akin, and John Brunner. None of them have shown the leadership Hector has evidenced. But does Hector have a chance? Could he really win in a week?

No doubt it would be hard; however, I believe he could pull out an upset victory. A recent Post Dispatch poll showed that almost 20% of the electorate was undecided about this race. With a late surge, this becomes a four-person free-for-all and the bar for victory drops to 25% or maybe 30%. In late June, Brunner was touting a  20 point lead over Akin and Steelman; however, that P-D poll shows him up over Steelman by only 5 points now.

Brunner is collapsing in the polls.

America has a lot of problems. One that does not get enough attention is the dearth of leadership in Congress. Perhaps its absence has caused us to forget what it looks like. Seeing an under-funded US Senate candidate like Maldonado exhibit poised yet polite steadfastness might just be the reminder that we need.

I plan to vote for Hector Maldonado on August 7th and I encourage you to do the same.

Video: Sarah Palin Ad for Sarah Steelman airs across Missouri

The Steelman email announcing the ad above which features Sarah Palin opened with:
Gov. Sarah Palin appears in a television ad airing today across Missouri in which she calls Sarah Steelman, “an economist who defends our tax dollars like a mama grizzly defends her cubs."
I have to admit that Palin's endorsement of Steelman is a bit of head scratcher. Some have been much more critical. Palin's willingness to cut an ad for Steelman underscores her commitment to that unexpected endorsement.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Video: We Built this Business

This is a parody video of President Obama's recent "you didn't build that" gaffe.

Right to Pray will be on the August Ballot as Amendment 2

Ozarks First reports that an amendment to the Missouri Constitution is on the August 7th ballot. Amendment 2 would guarantee a right to pray in schools and public places in Missouri:
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- Missouri voters will decide in August whether students should have the right to pray voluntarily while at school. 
It's called the Constitutional Amendment Number 2 and it is right to express religious belief and not to be infringed upon. It's that school children have the right to pray in the school," states Bonnie Earl, Jasper County Clerk.
Brad Lager
Brad Lager
I first heard about this effort to protect religious freedom in an email from the Brad Lager campaign touting his support for the amendment:
SAVANNAH, MO—Today Brad Lager, Republican candidate for Lt. Governor, announced his support for Amendment 2, which will appear on the August 7th primary ballot. Amendment 2 would bolster the following protections in Missouri’s Constitution and ensure:
  • That the right of Missouri citizens to express their religious beliefs shall not be infringed;
  • That school children have the right to pray and acknowledge God voluntarily in their schools; and
  • That all public schools shall display the Bill of Rights of the United States Constitution.
“Religious liberty is a founding and fundamental principle of our constitutional form of government,” said Lager. “Massive government programs, like Obamacare, are trampling on rights that have been afforded to our citizens since the founding of this great country. Amendment 2 reinforces the rights of Missourians to practice their faith, or not practice any faith, as they see fit. In the wake of Obamacare, it’s time Missourians make clear that we believe the Constitution means what it says. Regardless of which candidates you support in the primary, I hope you’ll join me in strengthening our rights to religious liberty by voting YES on Amendment 2.”

Brad Lager is a small business owner and job creator. In 2010, Lager was re-elected to represent the 12th Senatorial District in the Missouri General Assembly. Brad and his wife Stephanie reside near Savannah with their two children, Addison and Andrew. Lager is also a proud graduate of Northwest Missouri State University.
I'm not sure what I think of this amendment to the Missouri constitution. I certainly understand that conservative candidates like Lager and some 80 other candidates will support it out of political necessity, but I'm not convinced the amendment will accomplish anything. That said, you can review the language of the Amendment online to help you reach your own decision.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

McCaskill Trails Akin, Steelman, and Brunner in Latest Poll

Todd Akin
Todd Akin
Hotline on Call: Poll Shows McCaskill Way Behind:
Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) trails all three of her potential Republican rivals, according to a new survey conducted for two Missouri news outlets, cementing her status as this cycle's most vulnerable incumbent. 
Businessman John Brunner (R) holds the largest advantage over McCaskill, leading by a 52 perent to 41 percent margin. Former state Treasurer Sarah Steelman (R) leads by a 49 percent to 41 percent margin. And Rep. Todd Akin (R) leads by a 49 percent to 44 percent margin.

Video: Shane Schoeller Republican Candidate for Secretary of State

Republican Shane Schoeller is running for Secretary of State of Missouri. In the video above Schoeller lays out his vision for that office. That vision includes establishing a citizen's commission to write ballot language for initiatives and referendums as well as pushing for voter ID and cleaning up the voter roles in Missouri.

Video: Pat Brennan for State Representative

State Rep. Paul Curtman introduced Patrick Brennan at Brennan's 50th birthday bash and campaign fundraiser. Brennan is running for state in Missouri's 71st House District.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Standing Ovation for Rep. Mike Kelly's Floor Speech

Amazing. Just amazing job by Rep. Mike Kelly (R-PA). The cost of red tape, of regulation, is about $1.7 trillion.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Brad Lager Earns A+ from NRA

There is no candidate running for Lieutenant Governor of Missouri with a higher rating from the NRA than the A+ that Brad Lager recently earned (see letter below). With recent endorsements from fiscal hawks like state Senators Jason Crowell, Jim Lebmke, Brian Nieves, and Rob Schaaf as well as a conservative stalwarts like Missouri Senate Ag Chairman Brian Munzlinger, this NRA rating helps to burnish Lager's reputation in what is expected to be a close primary fight.

Update: When I originally blogged this, I was unsure about the terms "NRA" and "NRA-PVF". I contacted Lorien Johnson, NRA's Campaign Field Representative in St. Louis, to clarify the ratings of both Brad Lager and Peter Kinder. She wrote back:
NRA and NRA-PVF are under the same umbrella of NRA. PVF is the Political Victory Fund, the arm which makes endorsements, sets rankings, etc.

Kinder and Lager both earned an A+ ranking. Kinder received the endorsement.

Questionable Relationship between Steve Tilley and Sarah Steelman

A complaint has been filed with the Federal Election Commission alleging improprieties in the use of funds by the Missouri Leadership Committee and Steelman for US Senate. The Missouri Leadership Committee is not registered with the FEC, yet it has contributed to Sarah Steelman's federal campaign committee, Steelman for US Senate. The complaint alleges that Chairman of the Steelman Campaign and Speaker of the Missouri House, Steve Tilley, was instrumental in directing $25,000 from the Missouri Leadership Committee to Steelman for US Senate. The specific allegations are:
(1) Missouri Leadership Committee failed to register as a political committee with the FEC when it spent more than $1,000 to influence a federal election;

(2) The Steelman Campaign, through its agent and campaign chairman, financed, directed, or controlled non-federal funds by furnishing $25,000 to Now or Never PAC through Missouri Leadership, a state committee financed by Friends of Steve Tilley.
The ethics complaint letter is below. The name and address of the person submitting the complaint has been obscured. The exhibits (A-E) referenced in the letter can be found on Scribd.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Dr. Randy Jotte Joins Forty-Two Physicians Running for Congress

Dr. Randy Jotte is an emergency room physician at Barnes here in St. Louis. He is one of forty-two doctors seeking election to Congress this year (see chart at right from Pediatric News). In ACA Angst Moves More Doctors onto the Ballot, the cover story of the current issue of Pediatric News, Dr. Jotte is interviewed about his bid to represent the people of Missouri's 2nd Congressional District. Here's an excerpt:
Emergency physician Randy Jotte wants to represent Mis· souri's 2nd congressional district. Dr. Jotte, also a Republican, said that he decided to run to address increasing demands on emergency physicians with limited reo sources. as well as fighting to reo peal the ACA.

The health reform law doesn't give physicians enough resources to handle a growing number of patients and increasing demand to improve quality and to lower costs. Dr. Jotte said, adding that as health reform took the national stage, the general public became more aware of the issues at stake, and now they're looking to those who understand the system to help shape it.

"People are much more cognizant of some of the needs and weaknesses in the health care systom .... They look to physicians, both the physicians that are in their offices as well as physicians in Congress and saying 'how can we do this better."

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Are Indiana Democrats Denying Ballot Access to Mmoja Ajabu?

Disciples of Christ minister and founder/leader of the Indianapolis New Black Panther Party (NBPP), Mmoja Ajabu, is having trouble winning ballot access for his independent campaign in Indiana's 7th Congressional District. If he's on the ballot in November, he'll face Democrat Andre Carson and Republican Carlos May. The Democrat party will fight for the right of the New Black Panthers to patrol polling places with batons, but when a New Black Panther wants to be on the ballot, where are they?

Ajabu's Campaign initially turned in about 4,700 signatures of which only 1,300 were certified. Ajabu gathered 4,430 more signatures; however, the Marion County Board of Voters Registration rejected all of them (see document below).

Ajabu's campaign performed their own review of the signatures using the Board's database. That review confirmed that 2,418 of the 4,430 signatures were valid for a 7th congressional district candidate.

Are Democrats working to prevent Ajabu from appearing on the November ballot? Since one of the signatures on the document below is from a Democrat Voters Registration board member, it certainly seems so.

Ajabu AR-M550N_20120717_115936

Monday, July 23, 2012

Introducing Hector Maldonado, Republican Candidate for US Senate from Missouri

Hector Maldonado is running in the Republican primary for US Senate for Missouri. If he prevails on August 7th, 2012, against Todd Akin, John Brunner, and Sarah Steelman, he will face Claire McCaskill in the November general election.

Brad Lager Fights for Missouri's Taxpayer Protection Act

Rep. Eric Burlison produced the video above to help explain the taxpayer protection legislation that he sponsored. From the YouTube description:
I've been fighting to pass the Taxpayer Protection Act for the past two years because I believe that budgetary accountability is crucial to good governance. Government bureaucrats think they should be immune to economic recession, so they encourage politicians to increase government expenditures at all costs. Unfortunately, this pressure results in zero savings for the state government (even in years of robust economic growth), and during inevitable economic declines and accompanying short-falls in government revenue, the state has to drastically cut spending, or even worse, increase taxes. Neither of these options is a viable long-term solution, so I've offered a systemic approach; by amending our State constitution, the Taxpayer Protection Act ensures that excess revenue is saved in boom years so that the funds are available in years of recession.
Republican Lt. Gov. candidate Brad Lager speaks at the 1:30 mark about how Missouri government spending has been allowed to grow off the books through tax credits. St. Louis Tea Party founder Bill Hennessy has recently written about how tax credits kill society:
Tax credits reward particular businesses or developers with tax dollars from the general population. They concentrate wealth in a few hands. Tax credits are the way politicians play the market with someone else’s money.
Broadly speaking, tax credits burden the general welfare to advantage the particular welfare of favored constituencies. There are other instruments of government that do that like the 2009 stimulus bill, the 2008 bank bailout (TARP), and, on a local level, tax increment financing (TIF). The general welfare is also burden through zoning laws and other regulations that then advantage the particular welfare of certain property owners and land developers.

At the 3:10 mark in the video above, Brad Lager talks about how the taxpayer protection act will reign in expenditures like tax credits with spending caps.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

#MOSen: Hector Maldonado's Dark Horse Campaign

Hector MaldonadoThe Missouri Republican Primary for US Senate became a four man race on Saturday when Hector Maldonado joined Sarah Steelman and Todd Akin at the Americans for Prosperity's Missouri Summit. Maldonado was added to the forum when St. Louis businessman John Brunner backed out. PoliticMO reported on Friday about Brunner's withdraw from the Saturday forum in Springfield.

Earlier this week the Cape County Tea Party held a candidate forum in Cape Girardeau. During the forum they conducted a straw poll for both local and state-wide offices. While Maldonado did not win the straw poll for US Senator from Missouri, he placed second besting both Brunner and Steelman.

That doesn't surprise me because Maldonado ran for US Senate in 2010. While he finished fourth in that primary behind Roy Blunt, Chuck Purgason, and Kristi Nichols, he was able to develop his name recognition among conservatives across the Show Me state. In fact, I thought he won a 2010 AFP US Senate candidate forum.

All three of Maldonado's primary opponents have demonstrated significant weaknesses. Steelman is a disastrous public speaker with ties to unions and trial lawyers. Brunner has demonstrated a propensity for blaming others and an inability to control his campaign spending. Akin's greatest weakness is that he'd have to defend his numerous earmarks against Claire McCaskill's strict no earmark policy. In effect, McCaskill would be able to credibly run to Akin's right on fiscal issues during the general election.

Given the weak field, his respectable performance in 2010, and the fact that he seems to be garnering some interest at candidate events around the state, it is conceivable that Hector Maldonado could ride his dark horse campaign to victory on August 7th in what's shaping up to be a four-way race.

Video: After Party on Education

Gretchen and Anne from the Missouri Education Watchdog were the featured speakers at this past Thursday's St. Louis Tea Party After Party.  You can read more about their presentation at Missouri Education Watchdog. Here's an excerpt:
The subject of education is very broad and the system as a whole is very entrenched. We will have to take many bites of this apple to get where we would really like to be. For this presentation we tried to focus on the issues of control and finance and identified actions people could take to address those issues within the our state.
 Thanks to Bob Keough for shooting the video above of their presentation.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

If Bain is so Evil, Why Did Claire McCaskill Take Their Money?

Yid with a Lid noticed that Democrats have racked up over a quarter of a million dollars from a company that they've demonized: Bain Capital. I've reproduced Yid's chart below and added red to Claire McCaskill's row so that it's easier to note that she's the fifth largest Democrat recipient of Bain Capital donations with $22,500. At only $5,050, it seems that Obama just isn't trying. Here's Yid's summary:
If you believe the Democratic Party, Bain Capital is nothing but a bunch of vampire capitalists. They outsource jobs to other countries, close steel mills and take lollypops from little babies.

According to Open Secrets, during the present election cycle these Democratic Party candidates took a total of $340,750 from Bain, its lobbyists and employees. Even the Obama re-election campaign took money from Bain Capital. So if the Democrats believe Bain is so evil, why are these candidates taking their money?

Note: The Barack Obama contributions are not from open secrets but directly from the FEC here and here.
Candidate  Bain Capital Donation
John Kerry $76,200
Michael F. Bennet $37,000
Mark Warner $32,700
Tim Kaine (Candidate For US Senate in Virginia) $30,000
Claire McCaskill $22,500
Jeanne Shaheen $17,100
Al Franken $15,000
Jack Reed $15,000
Jim Himes $15,000
Sheldon Whitehouse $11,800
Mark Udall $11,300
Nancy Pelosi $10,000
Joe Kennedy III (Candidate For Mass. District 4) $10,000
Richard Blumenthal $9,600
Christopher S. Murphy  $7,500
Andrei Cherny  (Candidate For Arizona District 9) $7,500
Barack Obama$5,050
David Cicilline$5,000
Niki Tsongas $2,500
Total  $340,750

Brad Lager Endorsed by Four Fiscal Hawks of the Missouri Senate

Republican Brad Lager picked up endorsements today from four fiscal hawks of the Missouri Senate--Jason Crowell, Jim Lembke, Brian Nieves, and Rob Schaaf--in his bid to become Missouri's next Lt. Governor. Lager's campaign issued the press release below. Lager will face Peter Kinder in the August 7th Republican primary.
Contact: Ray Bozarth
Wednesday, July 18 2012
(573) 268-8177

Senators Crowell, Lembke, Nieves, Schaaf Endorse Lager

SAVANNAH, MO—Brad Lager, Republican candidate for lieutenant governor, today announced endorsements from conservative Senators Jason Crowell, Jim Lembke, Brian Nieves, and Rob Schaaf, reflecting a clear changing of the guard within the Republican Party. Lager’s endorsements solidify him as the real conservative in the race.

“Our elected officials are looking for real conservative leadership and I am proud to have conservative Republicans from across the state supporting my campaign,” said Lager. “Now is the time for new ideas and bold leadership from citizen legislators, not more of the same from career politicians. These endorsements reflect that sentiment.”

“If we keep electing the same people we are going to continue on the same path, and that has led Missouri to 48th in job creation,” said Crowell. “Government should not pick winners and losers. Government needs to get out of the way of the private sector, and only one man in this race understands that. That’s why I’m proud to endorse Brad Lager.”

“Brad Lager understands that the status quo must change if we want to improve our state,” Lembke said. “Brad Lager’s conservative leadership is exactly what we need to change the direction of Missouri.”

“Senator Lager is someone who shares our conservative family values and will govern by those same values,” said Nieves. “As a small business owner, Brad understands that government must get out of the way and allow the private sector to flourish. It’s an honor to support his campaign.”

“Senator Lager is a committed advocate for Missouri taxpayers and small business owners,” said Sen. Schaaf. “I have full confidence that Brad Lager will continue his stellar record of stewardship to the people of Missouri when he is elected Lt. Governor.”

Brad Lager is a small business owner and job creator. In 2010, Lager was re-elected to represent the 12th Senatorial District in the Missouri General Assembly. Brad and his wife Stephanie reside near Savannah with their two children, Addison and Andrew. Lager is also a proud graduate of Northwest Missouri State University.


Book: Ladies and Gentlemen by Dr. Gina Loudon

Dr. Gina Loudon's new book, Ladies and Gentlemen: Why the Survival of our Republic Depends on the Revival of Honor, hits store shelves today. From the Amazon description:
Ladies and Gentlemen studies the history of the terms that once elevated the ideal woman and man and illuminates how the structure of Western society established and maintained the virtues. In contrast, the book demonstrates how three movements—atheism, liberalism, and radical feminism—undercut these ideals, especially in the 20th Century. Rather than a dry history lesson, readers will understand the crucial contributions of government, family, literature/media, and churches in producing a culture that either esteems or debases the best of each gender.

Ladies and Gentlemen draws aggressive battle lines in today’s culture war, pressing Christians and conservatives to value all people, cherish manners, humility, and graciousness, and esteem virtue above self. It directly challenges politicians and media personalities to honor and reflect a culture of honor, as well as calling all conservatives to reward public figures who exhibit these traits, while rebuking or rejecting those who do not. The book exemplifies several public figures on both ends of the political spectrum who engender the traits of the lady or gentleman, as well as several who clearly fail.

Finally, Ladies and Gentlemen paints a portrait of modern civility, proving that women can be warriors without burning bras and men can be tough without smoking Marlboros on horseback. It instructs parents how to raise their own children to be ladies and gentlemen. Incorporating Biblical principles and an awareness of modern day challenges, it boosts parents’ ability to navigate the murky waters of today’s culture.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Palin Endorses Steelman for US Senate

Popular former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin (R) endorsed Sarah Steelman (R) today (press release below). Steelman is running for US Senate in Missouri. If she bests her Republican primary rivals in August, she'll face Claire McCaskill in the November election.

There's no clear leader in Missouri's Republican primary for US Senate; however, the recent "Red Arch" survey by Patch.com found no support for Steelman in the St. Louis area. The Palin endorsement may help her in the region.

Sarah Palin Endorses Sarah Steelman for US Senate from Missouri

Monday, July 16, 2012

Book: Roger Williams and the Creation of the American Soul

From the YouTube description:
"Williams was really America's first individualist, the first contradictor of authority, the first rebel," explains John M. Barry, author of Roger Williams and The Creation of the American Soul: Church, State, and the Birth of Liberty. While best known as the founder of Rhode Island and for being a leading proponent of a "wall of separation" between church and state, Barry argues that Williams' imprint on America is deeper than most recognize. "When I started writing the book I quickly realized that I was not simply writing about the emergence of the idea of religious liberty, but liberty itself."

Barry sat down with ReasonTV's Nick Gillespie to discuss the book, the enduring lessons of Roger Williams' life, and why he is not yet a household name.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Was Peter Kinder a Community Organizer?

I saw the photo to the right in Jefferson Thomas's twitter feed. It's a photo of a marked ballot that was paid for by "Voters for Good Government" and distributed to polling places in St. Louis city and county on election day 2008. The top screams: "Support our Community Ticket" and Republican Peter Kinder is clearly marked.

What's odd is that all of the other candidates that are checked off are Democrats: Barack Obama, Jay Nixon, Robin Carnahan, Clint Zweifel, Lacy Clay, Russ Carnahan, and even Chris Koster who is hated among St. Louis city Democrats.

Is that really the company that Kinder keeps?

Kinder suffered a series of missteps last year which led him to abandon his gubernatorial bid and try for a third term as Lt. Governor. It would appear that the LG office is a sort of Mendoza Line for Kinder and now it's time for "the coach"--Missouri Republican primary voters--to decide whether they're satisfied with his batting average or whether they should tap someone from their farm team. Fiscal hawk Brad Lager is the guy I think Republicans should put in their lineup. Lager is one of only two Senators during the 2011 regular session to oppose the China hub/aerotropolis bill. 

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Profligate Missouri AG Chris Koster Quadruples Advertising Expenditures

The Hobbits Source Blog recently reported on the profligate advertising spending of Missouri Democrat Attorney General, Chris KosterKoster, is no stranger to finding innovative ways for Show Me State taxpayers to finance the campaigns of leftists like himself. His latest tactic leverages the budget of the Office of Attorney General. As you can see in the graph to the right, Koster's spending on advertising increased by over %400 from fiscal year 2011 to 2012. Missouri's fiscal year runs from July 1 to June 30, so this massive advertising outlay comes in the run up to the August primary and will no doubt help Koster's name recognition in the November general election. Given that advertising by the Attorney General's office will boost Koster's name recognition, does such an enormous outlay constitute an "in-kind" donation to Koster's campaign?

Hobbits Source Blog also provides a ten year comparative analysis of the advertising expenditures of the Attorney General's office. That research makes clear that the 2012 expenditures by Koster are out of line with the historical pattern. In particular, of the $483,801 that the AG's office has spent on advertising in the past ten years, 24% of that--$115,444--came in fiscal 2012.

It's time to replace Koster with someone who will reform the AG's office. Republican Ed Martin is promising to do just that.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Ed Martin will Defend Missouri Agriculture from Regulatory Overreach

Ed Martin explains that a farmer in Southwest Missouri was targeted by the Missouri Department of Agriculture and Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster for regulatory violations. Martin contends that this regulatory overreach costs Missouri and is a distraction when there are greater issues facing the state like healthcare and jobs.

Koster's overreach also drew a rebuke from The Cavalry Group. In an email sent to its subscribers earlier this week, The Cavalry Group wrote in part:
Attorney General Chris Koster must go!

In a campaign message distributed today, Attorney General, Chris Koster refers to Missouri as the "puppy mill capital of the nation."


It should come as no surprise that HSUS has praised Attorney General, Chris Koster for his support on a number of HSUS-driven issues!...

A Look at the Farm Bill's Insurance Subsidies

The Heritage Foundation and Heritage Action are leading the charge to stop the 2012 farm bill. A good place to start for background on this legislation is The Heritage Foundation's policy paper Agriculture Policy Ripe for Reform.

Not only does the farm bill address agricultural subsidies, regulation, and insurance, but it also includes funding and policy changes to the food stamp program. As Heritage notes: "The tangle of corporate welfare, price controls, and import restrictions are downright perverse in an era of record-high farm income and a record-low ratio of farm debt."

In "The K Street Food Fight" Heritage notes the lengthy list of special interests that hope to receive subsides and regulatory favors from the government. With the US debt approaching $16 trillion, the country simply does not have the resources for more handouts. Yet, the Agriculture Reform, Food, and Jobs Act of 2012 (S. 3240) promises more of the same big government spending. As Heritage Action wrote:
Rather than reform, as the bill’s title implies, the Committee’s draft Farm Bill reinforces the heavy federal and taxpayer role in the farm economy. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that the bill would save $35 billion over ten years compared to the ten-year baseline of $992 billion. The Committee shaved off a 3.6 percent whisker of spending from a bill that is 60 percent larger than the last Farm Bill.
The legislation introduces a new insurance subsidy program called "shallow loss":
Not only does the federal government subsidize 60 percent of a farmer’s crop insurance premium on average; it also pays insurance companies to administer the policies.[2] Crop insurance subsidies have increased substantially during the past two decades, rising from $200 million in 1991 to $5.4 billion in 2009.[3] Farmers can also draw on disaster assistance programs when extreme weather causes crop failure.
As the graph above illustrates, taxpayers are subsidizing farm insurance at a geometrically increasing rate. That's simply unsustainable in these lean economic times; however, that is not the only problem that the bill's insurance subsidies present. As AEIdeas observed, the new farm bill is likely to also be a trade disaster
...annual subsidy payments of this size, coupled with an additional $7 to $10 billion in crop insurance subsidies, would clearly violate the United States’ WTO commitments and create enormous trade relations problems.
Roy Blunt (R-MO) was one of only sixteen Senate Republicans to join Claire McCaskill (D-MO) and forty-seven of her liberal colleagues voting for S. 3240. The fight is now in the House of Representatives.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Republican Attorney General Candidate Ed Martin Releases First TV Ad

Earlier this week I spoke with Republican Ed Martin about his campaign for Attorney General of Missouri and he told me that he recently unveiled his first campaign commercial which would be airing in key markets around the state. Martin is running to bring much needed reform to Missouri's AG office. If he prevails in the August 7th Republican primary, Martin will face Democrat Chris Koster in November.

Shane Schoeller and Ed Martin Demand Changes to Missouri's Ballot Initiative Process

On Monday, July 10th, Republican candidate for Missouri Secretary of State Shane Schoeller and fellow Republican candidate for Missouri Attorney General, Ed Martin, held a public press conference to talk about the steps they would take to ensure fair ballot language for state-wide Initiative Petitions and Referendums. Their press conference was precipitate by language handed down by Missouri Secretary of State Robin Carnahan and approved by Attorney General Chris Koster. That language distorts the intent of a November ballot measure. The ballot measure is designed to prevent the governor and state agencies from implementing healthcare exchanges in Missouri without the approval of the General Assembly; however, Carnahan wrote language that Koster approved which erroneously suggests that families would be denied affordable health care.

Schoeller, who is a state representative in Missouri's General Assembly, has crafted legislation that would ensure that a bi-partisan panel of Missouri citizens would participate in crafting future ballot language. Schoeller has also asked Speaker of the Missouri House, Steve Tilley, to setup an interim committee to look into this issue.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Blame Shifting Brunner Bus Strikes Again

Photo credit: Missouri Political News Service
For the second time Republican John Brunner's campaign has introduced his children into the media narrative and then bizarrely blamed one of his GOP rivals for having done so. It would seem that his children are little more than the political equivalent of human shields dragooned to bear whatever blame Brunner wants to shift.

This blog broke the Humane Farming Association (HFA) donation story in late June with the post, John Brunner: A Free Range Chicken in Every Pot. When Brunner responded to that post by saying that one of his children had made the donation, I called him a chicken.

This past Monday, Sarah Steelman released a TV ad criticizing Brunner for the HFA donation. That elicited the following response from the Brunner campaign (make sure you watch the Steelman ad first so you can better appreciate this non sequitur from Team Brunner):
Ginny Becker Responds to Sarah Steelman’s Personal Attack 
Steelman attacks Brunner’s youngest daughter in first television advertisement 
ST. LOUIS, MO — Sarah Steelman continued her personal attacks on John Brunner’s family today with the release of her first television ad. For months Steelman and her campaign operatives have been running a smear campaign focused solely on attacking John Brunner’s youngest daughter for her charitable donation. 
Ginny Becker, John Brunner’s youngest daughter released this statement in response to Steelman’s negative, dirty, and personal family attacks: 
“Christmas for our family means incorporating the spirit of charity and sharing God’s blessings.  Some of my favorite memories involve ‘adopting’ a military family in need. What this means is that we would help the family of a U.S. soldier who had been injured or killed in active duty, by shopping, wrapping, and shipping every item on their Christmas list. 
In lieu of gifts, one year, my father and mother allowed us to make charitable donations to the charity of our choice. For example, some of us chose as beneficiaries Autism Speaks and the Fischer House. 
One year, I chose as my beneficiary the Human Farming Association. It was solely my decision; made with the best of intentions. My charitable donation has nothing to do with a political race, and in my opinion, there are more significant issues to discuss today.” 
Todd Abrajano, Brunner spokesman called for Sarah Steelman to immediately apologize to John Brunner and his family for her uncalled for personal attack on his family. 
“The latest ad from Sarah Steelman is a despicable attack on John Brunner’s family and is completely outside the bounds of a political campaign,” said Todd Abrajano, Brunner spokesman. “It’s noteworthy that her ad does not address the kitchen table issues, such as spending, debt, and the economy that affect every Missourian, rural and urban. Sarah Steelman should be ashamed of herself for putting this ad on the air and I call on her to apologize to John Brunner’s family immediately.” 
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When I first blogged this story I included a link to the 2008 990-PF for The Brunner Foundation. That document not only lists the $10,000 donation to HFA, but it also identifies the trustees of the Foundation. As you can see in the snapshot below, none of Brunner's children are among the trustees:

If Brunner's campaign wants to shift the responsibility for this (and possibly other donations), then they should ask the Brunner Foundation to amend their 990's to accurately reflect who is responsible for the foundation's donation decisions--add his children as trustees.