State Senator Jill Schupp (D) announced today that she will be a candidate in the 2nd Congressional District – the seat currently held by Ann Wagner (r):
Jill Schupp @JillSchupp
People are tired of name-calling in DC. Since my school board days, people have elected me b/c they trust me to work on their behalf & find common ground to get things done.
I’m running for Congress in #MO02 to restore civility & trust in gov’t. Join us
5:20 PM · Dec 3, 2019
If anyone can, it’ll be Jill Schupp (D).
Sen. Jill Schupp (D): What’s up? (November 26, 2019)
The past few days at the Missouri Ethics Commission:
C000960 11/07/2019 Missouri Democratic State Committee Schupp for Senate 418 North Mosley Rd Creve Coeur MO 63141 11/5/2019 $10,000.00
C161387 11/23/2019 MAJORITY FORWARD Schupp for Senate 418 N. Mosley Rd. Creve Coeur MO 63141 11/23/2019 $30,000.00
C000960 11/25/2019 Missouri Democratic State Committee Schupp for Senate 418 North Mosley Rd Creve Coeur MO 63141 11/23/2019 $25,000.00
C171047 11/26/2019 House Victory Committee Schupp for Senate 418 Mosley Rd Creve Coeur MO 63141 11/24/2019 $15,000.00
And, from October:
Missouri Ethics Commission
Committee To Elect Jill Schupp 10/14/2019
27. Money On Hand at the close of this reporting period $259,517.66
That’s quite a spend down, eh, Ann?
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.
Today Donald Trump kissed up to Putin and sold out the United States. His performance was so horrifying that a former CIA director, John Brennan, characterized it as exceeding “the threshold of high crimes & misdemeanors. It was nothing short of treasonous.” Former National Intelligence Director James Clapper added that, “on the world’s stage, in front of the entire globe, the President of the United States essentially capitulated and seems intimidated by Vladimir Putin. So it was amazing and very, very disturbing.”
All of which tends to confirm what we’ve all known all along: our president owes Putin big-time and is running scared as the extent of the debt is close to being exposed by the special prosecutor.
When it comes to Republicans, we’re faced with two related issues. First, there are members of their party who actively benefited from Russian manipulation of our election, and even sought out help that turned out to come from Russia, whether they fully understood it at the time. Second, much of the rest of their party is now arguing that it’s really no big deal if the Russians manipulate American elections, so long as the GOP is the one that benefits. […]
We all know how eager the Trump campaign was to work with the Russian government when the campaign believed the Russians had dirt on Clinton to share. But just as we’ve seen so many times before, Trump’s naked corruption is merely a more unapologetic version of what’s happening within the Republican Party. So the question now is: Is this still going on? Are any Republican candidates currently receiving information obtained through Russian hacking about their opponents?
Which leads me to ask: what does GOP Senator Roy Blunt have to say about how Donald Trump is putting the security of our country at risk? Or my 2nd district GOP representative, Ann Wagner? So far nothing but crickets. And that goes for the rest of the Missouri delegation.
But it’s early times yet – just a few hours after the press conference after all. I’ll be watching to see how our GOP delegation responds after they’ve had a chance to test the direction of the wind in order to decide where their convictions lay. Who knows, just because they didn’t condemn daddy right away doesn’t mean they won’t manage to summon up some mild distress as long as it doesn’t look like it’ll get the red-meat pitchfork brigade too fired up.
I’ll be getting back to you when/if I learn who has an incipient backbone and who doesn’t. It’s important. We’ve got vitally important midterms coming up – and Trump’s public stance, in terms of what he says and his policies amounts to a giant “so what?”. All of which leads one to really worry about what deals may have been made – or further elaborated – in the two hours when the dictator and the wannabe dictator conferred unattended.
Got my latest email newsletter from my intrepid Washington Representative, Ann Wagner (R-2). It contained this rather extraordinary paragraph:
The Senate and House took action to roll back the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s backdoor regulating of the motor vehicle industry. In 2013, the CFPB relied on “junk science” when issuing their guidance on indirect auto lending. The Dodd-Frank Act explicitly states the Bureau has no jurisdiction supervising this industry, yet time and time again we see it is an agency willing to issue regulation by enforcement. Since 2013, the CFPB has issued over $200 million in out-of-court settlements to auto lenders based on guidance that was flawed from the start, ultimately harming the very consumers they intended to protect. Through S.J. Res. 57, Congress will bring accountability back to the CFPB and ensure this blatant over-regulation never happens again.
Bet using the phrase “junk science” gave Wagner a real thrill since she continually cites real junk science to justify her effort to deny women their right to abortion. Republicans in general like nothing better than fracturing logic in order to try to turn progressive rhetoric to their own use.
But the style of GOP duplicity in Wagner’s effort to mislead her constituents has to take backseat to its substance. What she’s referring to, the “problem” addressed by S.J. Res. 57, is an effort to address discriminatory auto lending practices via guidelines for indirect lenders rather than auto-dealers who were exempted from consumer protection oversight by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) established under Dodd-Frank. Specifically, the legislation Wagner touts attempts to nullify anti-discrimination provisions meant to protect minorities:
The fight centers on guidance issued by the CFPB in 2013 that took aim at a common industry practice in which auto dealers mark up interest rates offered by finance companies. Finance firms such as Ally, for example, set an interest rate based on objective criteria — including a borrower’s credit history and the size of the down payment. Auto dealers then are free to raise the interest rates within certain limits. The finance companies and the dealers split the extra profits.The CFPB argued that auto dealers were using that discretionary markup to charge black and Latino borrowers more than white ones, even if they had the same credit scores. Over several years, the agency fined numerous auto lenders millions of dollars for discriminating against minority borrowers.
What the “junk science” accusation in Wagner’s screed refers to is the CFPB’s use of a study by the Center for Responsible Lending that applied statistical analysis to large data sets selected on the basis of last name and zip code. No one disputes that such analysis may not work on the individual level. In the absence of data indicating the race of borrowers, however, far from being junk science, as Stuart Rossman, Director of Litigation at the National Consumer Law Center, puts it, “this analysis conducted on data from millions of auto finance transactions can find patterns that almost certainly reveal actual differences based on race.”
It also supplements numerous studies that have used other methodologies to show that lenders use the discretionary markup to disadvantage minority borrowers. Rossman, for instance, references more substantive data gleaned in the 1990s:
In fact, a few years ago, the National Consumer Law Center proved the same conclusion in courts of law based on data that did reveal the race of individual borrowers. In the late 1990s, we co-counseled class action lawsuits against all of the major auto finance companies challenging the use of discretionary dealer markups. In discovery, we obtained data on individual loans, and we hired an expert witness to match the loans to drivers’ license data in states that collected the drivers’ race. With millions of loans to analyze, we also could find the race of many borrowers who financed a car in a state that does not collect racial information but previously lived in a state that does. The results were overwhelming: Dealers were twice as likely to add a markup to the loans of African-Americans than to loans taken out by comparable white borrowers. Furthermore, when African-American and compatible white borrowers both were marked up, the African-American borrowers paid significantly more
That was 20 years ago you say – however a study earlier this year showed the same discriminatory lending patterns:
Discrimination in auto lending continues to be a very real problem. In early 2018, a study conducted by the National Fair Housing Alliance paired white and nonwhite testers to visit auto dealerships and shop for the same car within 24 hours of each other. The study found that, more often than not, the better qualified nonwhite applicant was offered more expensive pricing options than the less qualified white applicant. This resulted in those nonwhite borrowers paying on average $2,662 more than white borrowers over the life of the loan. Additionally, NFHA found that 75% of the time, white testers were offered more financing options than nonwhite testers. These statistics further prove the need for continued vigilant enforcement against violations of ECOA, as well as clear expectations for industry like the 2013 guidance provides.
So far no junk science, just many studies with diverse methodologies that point in the same direction. One that folks like Wagner don’t like to acknowledge straight-up. Because, hey, who wants to admit they support discrimination on the basis of race if it helps their banking cronies bottom line to deny it? Especially if the legislator in question has decided to cast her lot with the Idiot-in-Chief who’s helped her do lots of good for those in financial circles and who specializes in bringing the GOP’s racist dog whistles out of the shadows and into the light.
Are Republicans cynical, confused, or just outright hypocrites?
Cynical: The White House spokespeople, folks who work for Donald Trump, P****-grabber and sexual predator extraordinaire, who are claiming that they find the abuse allegations against the Missouri Governor, who is, compared to Trump, a junior-grade sexual predator, “very concerning.”
Confused: The three Missouri legislators, Republican Senators. Rob Schaaf, Doug Libla and Gary Romine, who are appealing to the same White House predator – who will never in a thousand years resign himself – to force Greitens to go gently into the looming political night. I guess our state-level pols just haven’t been paying attention. Read their letter – except for the parts that glorify Geitens’ Navy SEAL past, it could be describing the antics that have been imputed to the Orange Buffoon himself. Of course, the fool in the White House could end up doing just about anything, depending on the state of his “gut,” so maybe their gambit will pay off.
Outright hypocrite: Then, finally there’s the case of Rep. Ann Wagner (R-2). Wagner couldn’t wait to declare that when it comes to Greitens, she is “disgusted,” and asserts that he “is unfit to lead our state.” But I’m betting that a few of you remember when, in the wake of the Access Hollywood tape, she called on Trump to withdraw and labeled him “predatory and reprehensible.” Didn’t take her too long to reverse herself, though, when she realized which way the wind was blowing among the crazy reds in the Missouri GOP base. Nor is it surprising that she’s spent the last year kissing up to the Orange Buffoon who has showered her financial industry patrons with goodies. So much for her country-club rectitude.
Don’t ever doubt that our Annie will do whatever it takes when it comes to going along to get along. So we’ll wait and see if Greitens manages to hang on whether or not, in the end, all will be forgiven.
At this still, admittedly, early date, Claire McCaskill, Missouri’s Democratic Senate incumbent, is running eight points, 44-52, behind wet-behind-the-ears AG Josh Hawley, who is probably her best known challenger from among the GOP primary lineup. How can this be, you ask? McCaskill’s got the money, she’s been working hard to make sure that out-state Missourian’s know that she understands rural “Missouri values,” trekking from one town hall to another, tacking carefully and skillfully to the center in an effort to cultivate those famous moderates we keep hearing about – although we rarely seem to see them nowadays.
But recent events leave me wondering if McCaskill’s might have honed in on the wrong issue in order to prove her non-partisan bona fides. I’m referring to her support for a Republican bill that would once again deregulate banks. As Garry Rivlin and Susan Antilla of The Intercept describe it:
… the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act, […] represents the greatest threat to the Dodd-Frank financial reform law since its passage in 2010. The bill would relieve all but the country’s largest dozen banks of increased scrutiny and ease mortgage rules imposed after the financial crisis. It would undermine fair lending rules designed to counteract race discrimination and weaken the Volcker rule, which limits a bank’s ability to make speculative trades with federally insured deposits. …
In spite of the fact that bank earnings have continuously surged since 2010, proponents speciously insist that, due to the act, banks “are suffering and so, by extension, are consumers, businesses, and the economy at large.” Part and parcel of the GOP belief, reinforced by the Liar-in-Chief in the White House, that if you say it, it will be so, reality be dammed.
Many of the red-state Democrats who support the bill, like McCaskill, purport to buy into the argument that Dodd-Frank needs to be revised to help suffering community banks that the law has, they assert, disadvantaged. However, as Rivlin and Antilla report, “A 2017 FDIC report shows that deposits in community banks have grown in each of the past six years. Another report showed that 96 percent of the country’s 5,294 community banks were profitable, as of the third quarter of 2017.” If you’re interested in learning more about the problems with this legislation, including the effect on community banks, noted economist Jared Bernstein spells some of them out here in greater – but not too lengthy or ponderous -detail.
The issue for McCaskill, though, could go beyond pandering through bad policy, and might actually cost her politically. Consider, for example, the speculation that banking champion GOP Rep. Ann Wagner may be vulnerable this time around. It’s true that there are several reasons other than her dedication to fighting for the banks that so generously fund her that might leave her in a little shakier position than in the past. Her district has changed somewhat, she plays shy with her constituents in an effort to avoid controversy – and dim any potential sunlight on her priorities. There is, of course, also some indication that the hard-core Trumpies may not totally buy her Trump-MAGA conversion and are likely put off by her coy country club Republican aura.
But it’s equally true that there’s somewhat louder discussion than in past years about Wagner’s single-minded efforts to gut the financial rules, the fiduciary rule that protected investors from dishonest financial advisors in particular. People aren’t always as stupid as politicians think they are, particularly when it involves financial survival issues. And don’t forget, lots of Trump’s so-called populist voters were motivated by anger at Wall-street and the big banks – and there are those among them who are feeling a bit disillusioned right now.
McCaskill should take care – linking herself with folks like Ann Wagner and Blaine Luetkemeyer, big-time Missouri shills for the banking industry, might just prove to be the proverbial millstone that could harm more than it helps with contrary voters. Oh, and there’s always the damage the actual policy may do to all of us. Don’t any of these Democratic fools playing the bipartisan game remember 2008?
ADDENDUM: Kevin Drum points out that the Dodd-Frank roll-back will also gut provisions that prevent racial redlining, voicing his – and my dismay – that any Democrats – are you listening Senator McCaskill – are supporting this piece of drek.
Scuttlebutt is that Josh Hawley’s halo is getting a bit tarnished. Roll call reports:
In recent days, some Republicans have been questioning Hawley’s fundraising and lack of campaign activity in the four months since he officially launched his campaign.
“This is supposed to be the campaign where we righted all the wrongs of Todd Akin and we exorcised all the demons of past campaigns or past attempts to beat Claire McCaskill,” one Missouri GOP consultant said. “And now people are wondering, ‘Are we really going to blow this again?’”
And don’t forget Hawley’s statements about the sexual revolution as the root of sex trafficking. Second helping of Todd Akin anyone?
And then, of course, there’s the business of that mysterious robocall polling Missourians on whether they prefer McCaskill or Wagner? Who’s responsible? Your guess is as good as mine.
It’s been a couple of weeks since President Racist Moron sent us spiraling down toward a government shutdown by expressing his goal of importing prosperous, wealthy white Norwegians – who have little reason to come to the U.S. – instead of brown folks from S**thole countries – who actually need the haven that the United States has traditionally offered the oppressed, poverty stricken folks who flocked to these shores and helped build a strong, wealthy country where the middle class grew and prospered as never before. During this time, I’ve been monitoring the newspapers and congressional press releases to find out how our representatives in Congress have responded to Trump’s racist babblings – and I’ve found out just about nothing to let me know how our GOP profiles in political cowardice stand on the issue. However, today, Salon has posted an article that tells us what each member of Congress has had to say about this destructive and ugly piece of “telling it like it is,” as some of the more
racist “deplorable” Trump supporters would have it:
- Blunt, Roy (R–Sen.): Condemn
- *McCaskill, Claire (D–Sen.): Condemn
- Clay Jr., William “Lacy” (D–HR): Condemn
- Cleaver, Emanuel (D–HR): Condemn
- Graves, Sam (R–HR): No response
- Hartzler, Vicky (R–HR): No response
- Long, Billy (R–HR): No response
- Luetkemeyer, Blaine (R–HR): No response
- Smith, Jason (R–HR): No response
- Wagner, Ann (R–HR): No response
Although GOP Senator Roy Blunt, as befits a junior member of the Senate Leadership, did make a statement, you might be struck, as I was, that it focused on the pragmatic aspects of Trumps words – addressing his competence in securing GOP goals, rather than his bankrupt moral world view:
Senator Roy Blunt, Republican of Missouri, suggested the president’s inability to refrain from incendiary statements was detracting from his agenda.
“It’s an unacceptable view of the world, and it’s an unacceptable thing to say,” Mr. Blunt told KMBZ, a radio station in the Kansas City area. “You would expect the president to lead in determining how you filter your thoughts, rather than to continue to say things that take a lot away from what’s actually getting done.”
Compare the measured words of Blunt – who carefully avoided any overt reference to Trump’s racism, to the unequivocal tweet Democratic Claire McCaskill issued,:
It is unacceptable, repugnant, and morally bankrupt for a President of this great nation to call the countries of Africa “shitholes”.