Who pulls Rep. Ann Wagner’s strings? Not the voters in Missouri’s 2nd district for sure, who have been complaining for some time that she’s missing in action. She’s held no town hall meetings with constituents apart from some hilariously stage-managed “telephone” events – characterized by pre-selected participants and questions – and appearances before employees at friendly business venues that often offer no chance for questions. In fact, she’s so allergic to demands for direct accountability that, according the St. Louis Post-Dispatch‘s Todd Robberson, she has “repeatedly” refused to meet with the paper’s editorial staff in order to secure its endorsement.
Rep. Wagner does frequently send out an email “newsletter’ filled with treacly PR, news about her photo-ops and questionable claims that conform to GOP talking points. Claims, for instance, that the GOP tax cut for the rich has actually benefited working-class Missourians, which she put forward in her email newsletter of Sept. 3, are debatable – although we’re not likely to get the chance to debate them with the congresswoman herself.
So if Rep. Wagner is more interested in constructing a smoke screen than in finding out how her constituents really think about what she is doing in Washington, they can’t be blamed for wondering for whom she’s actually working when she’s in D.C. And it’s not too hard to figure out.
We all know about her huge campaign war-chest, currently ca. $3 million, made up of cash donated by “private donors hoping to influence or advance the people who do the public’s business.” And the cash rewards are not limited to “getting the message out.” The Post-Dispatch reported recently that “members of Congress use ‘leadership PACs’ – separate campaign fundraising entities from their regular political committees – to buy everything from rounds of golf to trips to posh resorts to tickets to Broadway shows.” These so-called “life-style enhancements” are on the pricey side, as indicated by some of the particulars pertaining to Wagner:
Wagner’s “leadership PAC, Ann PAC, spent $21,831 from 2015 through 2017 for event expenses, lodging, catering, and travel at various locations in Las Vegas, including the Venetian/Palazzo Hotel and expenses from Tao Restaurant Vegas, an ‘unparalleled Asian-inspired restaurant’ that is the sister to the ‘trendsetting’ Tao in New York. The payments to the Venetian/Palazzo in 2015 correspond with the Republican Jewish Coalition Spring Leadership Meeting.” Spokespersons for Wagner did not respond to a request for comment.
Who pulls Rep. Wagner’s strings? Tell me who is it who keeps Wagner in D.C. and shows her a good time while she’s there and I’ll show you who has her ear.