Rep. Vicky Hartzler (r): thoughts and prayers


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But it was still “no” vote for hurricane disaster aid.

Representative Vicky Hartzler (r) [2015 file photo].

Yesterday, via Twitter, from Representative Vicky Hartzler (r):

Rep. Vicky Hartzler‏ @RepHartzler
My continued thoughts and prayers go out to the victims of #Irma and those recovering from #HurricaneHarvey We all must #StandTogether
8:52 AM – 11 Sep 2017

Some of the responses:

Then stop voting against disaster relief effort funding

Is that all you will do: thoughts and prayers and hot dishes? Will you vote to provide them funds to rebuild without any other conditions.

Please can you pray the man made climate change away. No. I thought so.

They need a lot more than thoughts and prayers. They need help. Shame on you for voting against the funding to help.


Rep. Vicky Hartzler (r): the Affordable Care Act and what repeal really means to one family (July 14, 2012)

Voting against Hurricane Harvey disaster aid (September 8, 2017)

Which Missourians voted for or against the Trump-Schumer/Pelossi deal (September 8, 2017)

Rep. Vicky Hartzler (r): What’ll be the excuse for voting against Hurricane Irma disaster aid? (September 9, 2017)

Campaign Finance: that’s one way to raise campaign cash


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Just write your brand spanking new campaign for State Auditor a personal check for $500,000.00.

Today at the Missouri Ethics Commission for a republican candidate for State Auditor:

C171259 09/11/2017 Citizens For Wasinger David Wasinger 2 Huntleigh Woods Saint Louis MO 63131 Wasinger Daming LC CPA/Attorney 9/11/2017 $500,000.00

[emphasis added]

At this point wouldn’t “Candidate for David Wasinger” be more accurate? Just asking.


State Auditor Nicole Galloway (D) – July 2017 Quarterly Campaign Finance Report (July 22, 2017)

Campaign Finance: well, alrighty then


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Today at the Missouri Ethics Commission for the campaign finance reform, ethics reform, redistricting reform initiative::

C161298 09/11/2017 CLEAN Missouri National Education Association 1201 16th St, NW Washington DC 20036 9/11/2017 $250,000.00

[emphasis added]

They’re not messing around.


Campaign Finance: cleanliness (July 31, 2017)

Campaign Finance: more for cleanliness (September 11, 2017)

Campaign Finance: more for cleanliness


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In the past week at the Missouri Ethics Commission for the campaign finance reform, ethics reform, redistricting reform initiative:

C161298 09/05/2017 CLEAN Missouri Shamberg, Johnson & Bergman 2600 Grand Blvd Suite 550 Kansas City MO 64108 9/5/2017 $10,000.00

C161298 09/10/2017 CLEAN Missouri SEIU Missouri/Kansas State Council 2725 Clifton Ave St Louis MO 63139 9/9/2017

[emphasis added]

What’s interesting is who and what isn’t contributing to the cause.


Campaign Finance: cleanliness (July 31, 2017)

Ask Ann Wagner why, after Equifax fail, she wants to gut the CFPB?


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The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is, as it states on its Website, “a U.S. government agency that makes sure banks, lenders, and other financial companies treat you fairly. ” It was an important component of the the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (Dodd-Frank Act), a law designed to protect Americans from the excesses that led to the financial crisis of 2008. To date the Agency has been very effective. In the few years since it was established, it has settled over a million complaints and has saved consumers more than 11 billion dollars.

So what’s not to like? An awful lot if you are part of a financial industry that got used to running wild during the Bush years. As The New York Times asserts, the CFPB may have been too effective. It has far too much independence for Big Banking’s tastes; it can operate outside the realm of strategically distributed campaign funding and lobbyist blandishment.

Needless to say, when it comes to the CFPB, Republicans have been more than willing to take up the cudgels on behalf of their patrons in the financial sector. And nobody’s been more assiduous in going after the CFPB than Missouri’s own Ann Wagner, who, not incidentally, rakes in a big part of her considerable campaign war chest from grateful banking types.

The reason I’m returning to what is now an old and, at this point, oft-told story is simple: Equifax. The Equifax data breach that has exposed at least 148 million consumers to potential ID theft, to be precise. Also the fact that Equifax botched its response to its big fail by revealing the breach belatedly, and then offering inadequate follow-up, even, according to some sources, attempting to make money off of the disaster.

But don’t worry. The CFPB is on the case:

In a statement provided to HousingWire, CFPB Senior Spokesperson Sam Gilford said the bureau is already looking into the situation.

“The CFPB has authority over the consumer reporting industry, including supervisory and enforcement authority,” Gilford said in the statement.

“The CFPB is authorized to take enforcement action against institutions engaged in unfair, deceptive, or abusive acts or practices, or that otherwise violate federal consumer financial laws,” Gilford added. “We are looking into the data breach and Equifax’s response, but cannot comment further at this time.”

Additionally, Gilford said the CFPB is looking into the arbitration clause inserted into Equifax’s credit monitoring.

As CNN points out, consumers who want to take Equifax up on its offer of free credit monitoring for a year have to waive their right to sue, something that the CFPB is currently battling over on Capitol Hill.

“Equifax’s credit monitoring product contains a mandatory arbitration clause that denies people their right to join together to sue the company for wrongdoing,” Gilford said.

True, the New York Attorney General is also launching an investigation, and Congress is promising hearings. I don’t know about you, though, but when it comes to who is more likely to be thorough and transparent, I prefer that the task be at least shared with an agency like the CFPB, whose independence is assured. Unlike some congresspersons I could name, it doesn’t have any favors to repay that might soften the zeal with which it goes after a bad actor.

The CFPB  went after Equifax and TransUnion earlier this year for deceiving consumers about the usefulness and cost of credit scores they sell. Given their record to date, I don’t need to add that the CFPB got results; it cost the credit agencies $5.5 million in fines and $17.6 million in restitution paid to consumers. The CFPB’s got a track record when it comes to Equifax and its ilk.

Of course, it’s the very independence of the CFPB that sticks in Wagner’s craw. It’s what lies behind the usual Republican charges of government overreach or, in a more grandiose vein, charges that it is not constitutional to have a government agency with so much power that is funded independently of congress and is led by an executive appointee who cannot be dismissed on the whims of various and sundry elected officials without substantial cause. So far, the courts, our constitutional arbiters, don’t agree with Wagner et al. when it comes to questions of constitutional overreach. (Do you, too, find “unconstitutional” kind of funny coming from GOP politicians who seem to be purposely blind to the constitutional issues that bedevil their current President?)

Wagner’s onus against the agency extends to its director. She has been in the forefront of trying to drum up an appearance of malfeasance on the part of CFPB director Richard Cordray, even going so far as to level poorly substantiated charges of workplace discrimination. Most recently, she and her anti-CFPB cadres have tried to besmirch the record of the CFPB investigation into Wells-Fargo’s financial malfeasance.

But right now, when a truly huge number of Americans are facing the potential of identify theft or worse, and the company responsible for losing their data is acting poorly, do you think Wagner could be prevailed upon to leave the CFPB alone and let it serve the people who need it? I’m not optimistic – it’s clear that Wagner sees the Trump presidency as a lifeline when it comes to her heretofore ineffectual crusade to re-empower our financial overlords, but maybe, nevertheless, we should ask her to “can” it? Or else.*

*Note to Ann Wagner: No, Ann, “or else” is not a threat of anything worse than an election. I know that many of your grey-haried constituents scare you silly, but you don’t need to be worried about anything worse than losing their votes.

The Poetry of Protest


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The promotional postcard for our large print photography show in the Gallery of Art and Design at the University of Central Missouri. The show runs from September 25th through October 28th.

We started the process of creating the show well over a year ago. We’re still making prints. The images in the show were taken by us at protests, marches and demonstrations, some as far back as seven years ago. Some of the images have previously appeared here.

The show runs for a month. Admission is free, the gallery is open to the public.

Rep. Vicky Hartzler (r): What’ll be the excuse for voting against Hurricane Irma disaster aid?


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Will it be the same one? Just asking.

Yesterday, from Representative Vicky Hartzler (r) via Twitter:

Rep. Vicky Hartzler‏ @RepHartzler
I voted for Hurricane #Harvey relief earlier this week, but today’s CR ignores our defense needs. My statement:
10:13 AM – 8 Sep 2017

Well, no, let’s face it, you voted against Hurricane Harvey relief. Own it. You also voted against raising the debt limit to pay for what Congress has already spent. Do you have any idea what the failure to meet the obligations of the government would do to the country and its economy in a shutdown in the immediate aftermath of several large scale natural disasters? Evidently not.

Some of the Twitter responses:

“Bigot Vicky” (as He calls her) loves to use the military to push her hatred of #LGBTQ Americans who serve. Bigot Vicky never served #Shame

If your party’s defense bills were good, you wouldn’t have to tie it to an essential item like hurricane relief in order to get it passed.

Whatever. You’ll always just be remember for voting against funding Hurricane #HarveyReliefBill. Way to go.

Maybe… just maybe… more of your colleagues think it is important to help people in need than it is to buy another tank we won’t use?

How does it feel being ignored? Your constituents sure don’t like it.

You ignore having in-person town halls so the people that hired you can hear what is going on. So seems fair to me

We are not stupid. If your side prevailed, there would have been no money for hurricane relief. You can’t have it both ways.

The military can’t get by on the same budget year after year? Funny GOP thinks working people can.[….]

You have 3 months to work on a budget; however, noone to blame but GOP Leadership. To many non work days and August off with so much to do.

What defense needs? If you are talking military then you’re beyond deplorable. The DOD don’t need a God blessed dime with us dying out here

Running an empire is expensive

Go to Houston and see the destruction. Schools are cancelled for the year. People have no place to stay. Heartless Hartzler.


Voting against Hurricane Harvey disaster aid (September 8, 2017)

Which Missourians voted for or against the Trump-Schumer/Pelossi deal (September 8, 2017)

Which Missourians voted for or against the Trump-Schumer/Pelossi deal


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The House of Representatives voted today to pass a bill authorizing 15.25 billion dollars in emergency relief aid for the victims of hurricane Harvey; it was attached to a continuing resolution that would raise the debt-ceiling and fund the federal government through Dec. 8. The vote tally was 316 yeas and 90 nays. All ninety nays were Republicans including the five six Republican members of the Missouri House delegation.

The Senate voted on the measure on Thursday and passed it on a 80-17 roll call vote. Both Missouri Senators, Republican Roy Blunt and Democratic Claire McCaskill, voted for the measure.

McCaskill’s vote is no surprise, but ol’ Roy? Maybe no surprise there either. It’s not necessarily a case of the the tiger changing its stripes – it’s just that some of those stripes are more attractive than others. In short, Blunt is a pragmatist, a corrupt, power-seeking, self-interested pragmatist, true, but he does understand what’s involved in raising the debt ceiling. And he knows that the economic nightmare that would result from a default would not serve anyone’s interest.

In 2013 Bunt indicated that he couldn’t support using the urgent need to raise the debt ceiling as a bargaining chip to deny funds to Obamacare, remarking that “I think holding the debt limit hostage to any specific thing is probably not the best negotiating place.” So now he’s reversed himself, showing admirable flexibility; the new circumstances, he implies, justifies the contingency. He observed that that tying the debt ceiling to Harvey aid is “one way to do it, ” i.e., raise the debt ceiling, a crucial must-do, adding that the need to address the destruction left in the wake of the hurricane is “another reason as to why you’d want to keep the government open.” Even though it looks like a flip-flop, Blunt’s consistent about one thing. No debt ceiling default. Ever.

Sadly, the other members of the Missouri GOP delegation don’t get it. Perhaps it’s because they don’t actually understand that extending the debt ceiling has nothing to do with increasing Government spending, but simply permits Treasury to pay the bills Congress has already run up.Or maybe they want their constituents to believe that they had a “fiscally responsible” reason for voting to leave Harvey victims high and dry (so to speak), while undermining the functioning of the federal government and maybe even wrecking the heretofore sterling credit worthiness of the United States.

Here’s a sample of the debt flim-flamming we’re hearing from our Missouri congressional representatives:

Rep. Ann Wagner (R-2): “I promised the people of St. Charles, Jefferson, and St. Louis counties that I would go to Washington to cut up the government’s credit card and put a stop to wasteful federal government spending.”

Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-3), also thinks that raising the debt limit so that Treasury can pay the bills that he and other congressmen have already run up represents a failure to “curb future spending.”

(You’d think that folks who’ve worked so assiduously as Luetkemeyer and Wagner to assist the financial industry would understand what the debt ceiling is and how it works. But, evidently, you’d be wrong.)

Rep. Billy Long (R-7) explained his “no” vote by declaring that “simply raising the debt limit is not the answer to fixing our nation’s fiscal mess. (Note to Billy: nobody said it was. The answer, that is, to a supposed fiscal mess. Different topic totally).

Give Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-4) points for originality: she purports to think that extending the debt ceiling for three months “freezes defense spending at current levels and ties the hands of our Defense Department, preventing them from making desperately needed investments to meet the threats we are facing.” Nu-uh, Vicky! Talk about deflecting from the actual topic.

What really puts these excuses to the lie is the fact that House and Senate leadership wanted to go for an eighteen month extension of the debt limit. They were hoping to avoid the inconvenient messiness that would be sure to ensue when the limit has to be negotiated again at the very beginning of the midterm political season come December. Are you willing to bet good money that had that deal come down the line, all of these GOPers – even go-along-to-get -long types like Wagner – would have oppposed it?

And, in case you are persuaded by occasional claims that these folks were willing to vote “yea” on Harvey relief, but balked at voting on the debt ceiling because they believe the debt ceiling vote ought to be “clean,” with no need-to-pass riders, just think back to the behavior of almost all of these stalwarts when it came time to take debt ceiling hostage during the Obama years. Dead-enders, every one of them.

Addendum (9/9/2017, 11:56 am): You will notice that there’s nothing in the post above about the positions of Jason Smith (R-8) and Sam Graves (R-6). That’s because I couldn’t find anything. Too early? It struck me that the absence of online info about these two lawmakers actions is pretty predictable. Takes them a while to issue a statement if they ever do. Don’t their constituents care? Do folks in their districts just reflexively vote Republican, relieving them of any obligation to take care with their votes or to explain them? Do I need to subscribe to their newsletters? Do they have newsletters? Guess I’ll have to check it out.

Voting against Hurricane Harvey disaster aid


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That would be Missouri republicans.

Today in the U.S. House of Representatives:

H.R.601 – Reinforcing Education Accountability in Development Act
Notes: The measure is the expected vehicle for supplemental appropriations for disaster relief, increasing the debt limit, and funding the government through a continuing resolution.

H R 601      YEA-AND-NAY      8-Sep-2017      10:33 AM
QUESTION:  On Motion to Concur in the Senate Adt to the House Adt to the Senate Adt
BILL TITLE: Reinforcing Education Accountability in Development Act
—- YEAS    316 —
—- NAYS    90 —
Graves (MO)
Smith (MO)
—- NOT VOTING    27 —

Every Missouri republican in the House voted against disaster aid for the people and states affected by Hurricane Harvey.

They made excuses.

Representative Anne Wagner (r):

I promised the people of St. Charles, Jefferson, and St. Louis Counties that I would go to Washington to cut up the government’s credit card and put a stop to wasteful federal government spending. What Congress voted on today did neither. Tying reckless spending policy to desperately needed emergency disaster relief sums up what people, myself included, hate about Washington politics. Today should have been about providing emergency resources for disaster relief and recovery, not playing beltway politics and punting on our national debt.

Representative Vicky Hartzler (r):

Today, the House passed a continuing resolution to provide funding for the government for the remainder of the year. While I voted for funding for Hurricane Harvey flood relief earlier in the week and am glad they will get the help they need, that funding measure included legislation that freezes defense spending at current levels and ties the hands of our Defense Department, preventing them from making desperately needed investments to meet the threats we are facing….

No statements yet from the other four.