Campaign Finance: here comes the sun

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Yesterday at the Missouri Ethics Commission:

C171198 07/25/2017 Caleb Arthur For Missouri Caleb Arthur 2144 East Republic Rd; #210 Springfield MO 65804 Self-Employed CEO 7/25/2017 $200,000.00

[emphasis added]

Must be nice.

C171198: Caleb Arthur For Missouri
Committee Type: Candidate
Party Affiliation: Republican
Po Box 3838
Springfield Mo 65808
Established Date: 07/14/2017
[….] 
Candidate
Caleb Arthur
[….]
Election History
Election Outcome Political Office
8/7/2018 Primary Election State Senator District 30 Missouri State Senate

You just know they’re gonna try to work the August 21st solar eclipse into their campaign ads.

Bob Dixon (r), the current senator in the 30th District, term limits out in 2018.

Sen. Roy Blunt (r): there are thousands of health care stories

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Roy Blunt (r) [2016 file photo].

A constituent’s account of her phone call to Senator Roy Blunt’s (r) office earlier today:

Recap of what I told Blunt’s LA just about five minutes ago…

“I’m calling again to make sure you understand what’s at stake for me and my family in the healthcare debate. I grew up in Missouri, the youngest of three. My older brother has autism and depends on Medicaid for care. When I was in grade school, my mother showed me a report on Willowbrook, a mental hospital where patients were left to rot in their own waste, naked and unattended for days on end. My mother looked me in the eye, told me that she’s fighting to keep my brother out of an institution because of inhumane care, and explained that one day this fight would be mine. That day is now. I’m fighting hard to ensure my brother is the first man in our family to live past 62 years old. I spend hours on his health, his quality of life, his daily community involvement. And the last thing I need is less funding, less support, and fewer options. I’m calling to tell you that I will be relentless in this quest…because my mother was, my father was, and my brother deserves it. My brother’s name is Bill. He’s 47. He loves trains, planes, the smell of vanilla, Kit Kats, lunch meat, walks, and contributing to his community. It took him years to learn to write his name, to use the bathroom, to sign basic requests. He’s amazing. He’s a Missourian. And he is why I’m on the phone talking to you about a reckless healthcare bill no one wants pushed by a historically unpopular president no one likes. This is what’s at stake. Bill Merritt’s quality of life and health is at stake. And this story is what I intend to share with you daily. Because I inherited this quest with love and appreciation, and my brother is more than worth it.”

Pamela Merritt

Senator Roy Blunt (r) is much more concerned with giving billionaires and millionaires a tax cut. He voted for the motion to proceed. Then he voted to take away access to affordable health care for millions of Americans.

There are thousands of these health care stories. Senator Roy Blunt (r) isn’t listening.

Campaign Finance: You were expecting anything else?

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Today at the Missouri Ethics Commission for the HRCC:

C091068 07/24/2017 HOUSE REPUBLICAN CAMPAIGN COMMITTEE, INC Fitzpatrick For House PO Box 701 Shell Knob MO 65747 7/24/2017 $10,000.00

C091068 07/24/2017 HOUSE REPUBLICAN CAMPAIGN COMMITTEE, INC RSLC – Missouri PAC 1800 Diagonal Rd Suite 230 Alexandria VA 22314 7/24/2017 $10,000.00

[emphasis added]

There’s a special election in the 50th Legislative District on August 8th. You were expecting anything else?

Previously:

Campaign Finance: What’s up with that? (July 23, 2016)

Campaign Finance: What’s up with that?

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Today at the Missouri Ethics Commission for the HRCC:

C091068 07/23/2017 HOUSE REPUBLICAN CAMPAIGN COMMITTEE, INC Friends Of Elijah Haahr PO Box 14506 Springfield MO 65814 7/21/2017 $5,001.00

C091068 07/23/2017 HOUSE REPUBLICAN CAMPAIGN COMMITTEE, INC Missouri Realtors PAC Inc PO Box 30635 Columbia MO 65205 7/21/2017 $10,000.00

[emphasis added]

They’ll have all the money they need. For, like, robocalls?

There’s a special election coming up in the 50th Legislative District on August 8th.

Previously:

What a friend we have in Putin (July 15, 2017)

Campaign Finance: Eh, what’s up doc? – again (July 20, 2017)

Campaign Finance: Who needs millionaires or PACs when you can do it yourself?

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This morning at the Missouri Ethics Commission for a republican candidate in the 18th Senate District:

C171187 07/22/2017 Missourians For O’Laughlin Cindy OLaughlin 499 N 4th Shelbina MO 63468 Leo O’Laughlin Inc 7/22/2017 $100,000.00

[emphasis added]

Instant campaign. Isn’t that nice?

The committee:

C171187: Missourians For O’laughlin
Committee Type: Candidate
Party Affiliation: Republican
1103 East Briggs Drive
Macon Mo 63552
Established Date: 07/17/2017
[….]
Candidate
Cindy O’laughlin
Election History

Election Outcome Political Office
8/7/2018 Primary Election State Senator District 18 Missouri State Senate

They’re not wasting any time. The 18th Senate District seat is open in 2018.

State Auditor Nicole Galloway (D) – July 2017 Quarterly Campaign Finance Report

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State Auditor Nicole Galloway (D) [2016 file photo].

The quarterly campaign finance reports are due in at the Missouri Ethics Commission. State Auditor Nicole Galloway (D) has raised a significant amount towards her 2018 reelection campaign:

C111091: Nicole Galloway For Missouri
Committee Type: Candidate
Party Affiliation: Democrat
Po Box 11723
St Louis Mo 63105
Established Date: 04/20/2011
[….]
Information Reported On: 2017 – July Quarterly Report
Beginning Money on Hand $381,662.11
Monetary Receipts + $155,464.00
Monetary Expenditures – $19,626.04
Contributions Made – $100.20
Other Disbursements – $2,650.00
Subtotal $133,087.76
Ending Money On Hand $514,749.87

[emphasis added]

$514,749.87 is a good start.

Some of the contributions:

MISSOURI ETHICS COMMISSION
CONTRIBUTIONS AND LOANS RECEIVED
NICOLE GALLOWAY FOR MISSOURI [pdf] 7/17/2017

13. TOTAL MONETARY CONTRIBUTIONS RECEIVED FROM PERSONS GIVING $100 OR LESS $10,401.00

…and a number of contributions from individuals, organized labor, financial professionals, and Democratic office holders.

The expenditures mostly consist of fundraising expenses, data, and setting up a web site.

It’s a good start.

Campaign Finance: Eh, what’s up doc? – again

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Yesterday at the Missouri Ethics Commission:

C000953 07/20/2017 MO Republican Party House Republican Campaign Committee PO Box 1313 Jefferson City MO 65102 7/19/2017 $10,000.00

[emphasis added]

Does this have anything to do with the August 8th special election in the 50th Legislative District? After all, it is the HRCC’s money.

Previously:

Campaign Finance: Eh, what’s up doc? (July 20, 2017)

Bipartisanship gone bad: The Israel Anti-Boycott Act

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The Israel Anti-Boycott Act (S.720 and H.R.1697) is very bad legislation. It’s also that rarity, a bill that truly has bipartisan support. It’s laws like this proposed legislation, I suspect, that gives being bipartisan a bad rep.

The bill essentially bans boycotts or economic sanctions against countries “friendly” to the U.S. , specifically, but not necessarily limited to, Israel:

The bill amends the Export Administration Act of 1979 to declare that it shall be U.S. policy to oppose:

  • requests by foreign countries to impose restrictive practices or boycotts against other countries friendly to the United States or against U.S. persons; and
  • restrictive trade practices or boycotts fostered or imposed by an international governmental organization, or requests to impose such practices or boycotts, against Israel.

The bill prohibits U.S. persons engaged in interstate or foreign commerce from:

  • requesting the imposition of any boycott by a foreign country against a country which is friendly to the United States; or supporting any boycott fostered or imposed by an international organization, or
  • requesting imposition of any such boycott, against Israel.

The bill amends the Export-Import Bank Act of 1945 to include as a reason for the Export-Import Bank to deny credit applications for the export of goods and services between the United States and foreign countries, opposition to policies and actions that are politically motivated and are intended to penalize or otherwise limit commercial relations specifically with citizens or residents of Israel, entities organized under the laws of Israel, or the Government of Israel.

The legislation would levy significant fines not only for participating in boycotts or sanctions, but also for simply requesting information about such actions. Legislation like this would have precluded the boycott of South Africa that was at least partly responsible for the fall of apartheid. People on the left and on the right oppose this bill for much the same reason: it is improperly coercive, too broad in scope, and violates the Constitution. If its support is bipartisan, so is its opposition.

Who opposes the Israel Anti-Boycott Act?

The ACLU wrote in a letter to the Senate that “the bill would punish businesses and individuals based solely on their point of view. Such a penalty is in direct violation of the First Amendment,” adding that:

“… this bill cannot fairly be characterized as an anti-discrimination measure, as some would argue. For example, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 already prevents businesses from discriminating against customers based onrace, color, religion, and national origin. This bill, on the other hand, aims to punish people who support international boycotts that are meant to protest Israeli government policies, while leaving those who agree with Israeli government policies free from the threat of sanctions for engaging in the exact same behavior. Whatever their merits, such boycotts right ly enjoy First Amendment protection.

The American Conservative’s Daniel Larison, on the other end of the political spectrum, is in perfect agreement:

Whatever one thinks about the BDS [i.e., boycott, divestment, and sanctions] movement and related international efforts to pressure Israel to change its occupation policies, it is deranged to try to criminalize protected political speech and association. As the ACLU points out, that is what this bill does. This legislation is plainly unconstitutional, and I assume it would be struck down in court if it were ever signed into law, but the deeper problem is that so many elected representatives think it is appropriate and desirable to trample on the constitutional rights of Americans to defend another government’s illegal occupation. …

J-street, a liberal Jewish lobbying group that advocates for a two-state solution to conflict between Israel and the Palestinians but which has stopped short of endorsing boycotts and sanctions, also opposes the legislation. In an email to congressional staffers, the J Street Vice President of Government Affairs, Dylan J. Williams, wrote that in its present form, the bill would:

…undermine decades of US policy toward the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, bolster the settlement enterprise and harm the prospects for a two-state solution. […]

[…] we recommended that Members consult with free speech experts on possible Constitutional concerns with the bill. Accordingly, I want to make sure that you saw the letters issued by the ACLU yesterday opposing both the Senate and House versions of the bill on the grounds that they would impose penalties in “direct violation of the First Amendment.”

So who does support this bill?

AIPAC. But that goes without saying.

Who else? At least 237 members of the House of representatives, 63 of whom are Democrats, are cosponsors of the bill, and 45 Senators, 13 of whom are Democrats, are also cosponsors . Others will probably, due to either conviction or the pressures of the prevailing political wisdom, help vote it into law.

Missouri Supporters

As for whom in Missouri supports this legislation, here’s the list of House cosponsors from our fair state: Rep. Wagner, Ann (R-2), Rep. Sam Graves (R-6), Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-4), Rep. Jason Smith (R-8), and Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-3). And in the Senate, who else but that consummate bipartisan wannabe, Senator Claire McCaskill, has signed on. So far, at least, Senator Blunt is keeping his hands off this one. Do you think he might actually have a few Constitutional scruples?

McCaskill’s presence is the most easily explained. She’s good at the political calculus and you can bet there’s some payoff here, or at least she hopes there will be, in 2018. The woman’s great strength is her pragmatism. It’s also, alas, her frequent downfall.This case falls into the latter category.

What really bothers me, though, are all those Republicans in the House who support this bill. Don’t most Missouri conservatives get all teary-eyed about the right of bakers and the like to refuse to do business with the LGBT folks – or whoever else their personal Jesus tells them to dis? Yet they don’t want to let businessmen or individuals who have moral qualms about the activities of foreign countries refrain from doing business that supports those activities? It’s not exactly the same question – there’s lots of issues to unpack here – but, on the surface at least, it seems just a little hypocritical.

More importantly, weren’t lots of these chuckleheads elected during the Tea Party “uprising” by voters who went around in tricorner hats waving pocket copies of the Constitution? It was pretty clear, even at that time, that few Tea Partiers had actually bothered to read the document and fewer still understood it, but don’t you think that the folks they sent to Washington ought to at least show a little deference to the legal underpinnings of of our great Democracy?

*2nd to last paragraph slightly revised for clarity (12:03, 7/21/17).

Campaign Finance: Eh, what’s up doc?

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Yesterday at the Missouri Ethics Commission, a dormant republican PAC awakes:

C051039 07/19/2017 RSLC-MISSOURI PAC Republican State Leadership Committee PAC & Individual Account 1201 F Street, NW Suite 675 Washington DC 20004 7/18/2017 $10,000.00

[emphasis added]

They filed limited activity reports in April and July. In January:

C051039: Rslc-Missouri Pac
Committee Type: Political Action
1201 F Street Nw Ste 675
Washington Dc 20004
Established Date: 02/10/2005
[….]
Information Reported On: 2017 – January Quarterly Report
Beginning Money on Hand $554.75
Monetary Receipts + $0.00
Monetary Expenditures – $14.00
Contributions Made – $0.00
Other Disbursements – $0.00
Subtotal ($14.00)
Ending Money On Hand $540.75

[emphasis added]

Okay. Now they have $10,000.00 to play with.

Special elections in the 50th Legislative District and 28th Senate District anyone? Just asking.

Previously:

Tinker to Evers to Chance, from PAC to PAC, from billionaire to PAC… (December 4, 2014)

Campaign Finance: just passing through (November 3, 2016)