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Our front pager, Sarah Jo, also writes for the Franklin County Dems website and had this to say on that site about a Franklin County Republican rep, Scott Dieckhaus:

Follow The Money

Scott Dieckhaus and his friends

Date Posted: Saturday, July 31, 2010 by sarah jo

It’s traditional in political campaigns to follow the money in order to predict how an elected official will vote on specific bills. If this model holds true for Scott Dieckhaus, (R-109) it’s a safe bet that he will be one of King Rex’s boys when he heads back to Jeff City.

Franklin Countians concerned about Ameren’s plans for a huge coal ash dump in Labadie can take no comfort either.

According to MEC filings reported in the Missourian today, Scott’s largest contributor to his campaign is Rex Sinquefield, the billionaire puppet master of Missouri Republican politicians. We can expect Scott to show his appreciation for King Rex’s $4,500 donation during the next legislative session.

AmerenUE’s political action committee gave Scott $1,000, a paltry sum by utility company standards. But Labadie is in Scott’s district, and he has been noticeably absent from any of the public hearings on the coal ash dump. I wonder if any of the Republican voters following the coal ash controversy have come to realize how little the GOP cares about local health, safety and environmental issues. For them, it’s all about money and power.   Ameren knows it can get away with using our county as their toxic waste dump because no one in a position to stop them will.

To give Dieckhaus credit, he actually got on the blogsite and responded in the comments section. Several times, in fact. Here’s part of his first:

I’m always happy to answer questions when asked of or about me. First, I’d like to clear up a few misstatements from Sarah Jo’s initial post: 1) Most campaign contributions do not come to influence votes; rather, they are usually a result of having already made votes and people agreeing with those votes. 2) Rex Sinquefield has given to my campaign, but he is hardly a “puppet master of Missouri Republican politicians”. If he were, wouldn’t we have had some significant education reforms by now? Maybe a “Fair Tax” system in place? We do have a Republican majority in both houses of the General Assembly. Rex gives to just as many Democrats as he does Republicans (I don’t know that the numbers are exactly the same – but VERY close). As I stated in my first point, Rex has taken an interest in my campaign because I am a former teacher who is in favor of many of the reforms that he seeks. I stated those views openly when I ran for office in 2007-2008 and have filed several bills related to my beliefs. Rex has contributed to my campaign because he and I share a vision of providing a quality education to each student in this state.

As for the AmerenUE issue, I am staying on top of it. It is the biggest issue in my district, and I have talked to many of the residents in the Labadie/St. Albans area – as well as other concerned citizens – about it. My personal view is that if AmerenUE meets the regulations that have been established by the federal, state, and county governments, they should have the right to place the landfill on their property. Admittedly, I believe that the county should proceed VERY cautiously. I think a conditional-use permit that would prohibit AmerenUE from bringing coal ash from other facilities and possibly raising the landfill to the 500-year flood plain are fair proposals.

With that being said, I included a question on this issue on a survey that was recently sent to my constituents. At this time (probably about 1/3 of the surveys I expect to receive have been returned), my constituents district-wide are opposed to the landfill in any capacity by a narrow margin. If that holds true, I will openly oppose the landfill as their representative because that is my job.

Dieckhaus strikes me the same way Sen. Eric Schmitt does, as a “moderate”–until you scratch the surface. As the Democrats challenged Dieckhaus’ assertion that Dems get almost as much Sinquefield money as the Rs do, he kept backing away from that statement, until finally one commenter wrote this:

You are still bending the truth on this, Scott. If you look just at lawmakers in Jeff City Sinquefield contributed directly to only 4 Democrats and 17 Republicans. If you also include Democrats from St. Louis City and County governments that makes six. Even then Sinquefield gave a total of 125k to these six Democrats while giving nearly $10 million to Republicans and Republican committees and causes. That’s not “just as many Democrats” as Republicans. That’s not “about 1/3 of his contributions”. And that’s not “over 1/4” of his total contributions, per your latest walk back. The fact is, Sinquefield has contributed to every single Republican in the state house and Senate by way of the House Republican Committee, the Senate Leadership Committee and the Missouri Republican Party.

Another commenter tackled the way Dieckhaus pretended not to be carrying water for Ameren:

Representative Dieckhaus,

You say you have been “staying on top” of the Ameren issue. Were you at any of the three Planning and Zoning meetings where this was discussed? I do not recall seeing you there. Please correct me if I am wrong. You said you have spoken to “many residents in the Labadie/St. Albans area”. Other than the meeting with you in Jefferson City early this year, and a couple of follow up emails from us, to the best of my knowledge you have made no attempt to contact the Labadie Environmental Organization to stay current on the issue. How can you “stay on top” without getting up to date information first hand from one of the main parties involved in the issue?

Your survey results on the landfill issue would have a wider margin opposing the landfill if it would have been written and posed in an unbiased manner. It is heavily slanted in favor of Ameren’s proposed landfill and mentions the opposition just as an afterthought. It is no accident that those who know little or nothing about the facts would vote yes just relying on the information on your survey. This happens all too often. Questions and ballot initiatives are crafted to get the results the authors want.

Most importantly “meeting the regulations that have been established by the federal, state, and county governments” is not the full story. That statement gives people a false sense of safety and security. Number one, the federal regulations are currently under review by the EPA to possibly regulate coal ash under Subtitle C hazardous waste rules. Number two, the state regulations are weak and not protective of public health and the environment. Number three, there are no regulations on the county level and that is what this issue is all about. The Labadie Environmental Organization is fighting to insure that the county does the right thing in being thorough and thoughtful in their consideration of this issue.

I appreciate the fact that Dieckhaus was willing to walk into the lions’ den by responding to Sarah Jo. But he needed a whip to protect himself in the form of demonstrable facts. He didn’t have those. The Franklin County Democrats examined his whip and pointed out to him that it was really just a wet noodle. They may have left him with a few scars.