Scott Eckersley: Runaway spending, hateful politics, and indulgent special interests are affecting our way of life. And Congress has clearly lost it’s moral compass. The way we raise our families, treat our neighbors, and conduct our lives is important. And Congress isn’t making that any easier. We need to make America our own again for our kids. And we need strong moral leadership to make that happen. Because being a good congressman means more than just voting yes or no. It means knowing the difference between right and wrong. I’m Scott Eckersley and I approve this message.
Moral compass. I wonder what brought that on? Maybe this? Or could something else be brewing? Just asking.
Democrat Arthur Lieber filed to face Todd Akin. Lieber may be an innovator in Clayton touch football or it might be another Lieber. 2008 Democratic Nominee Bill Haas filed as a Republican to expand the primary field to 4 Republicans. Haas is presumably the most liberal candidate in the Republican field and the favorite to finish last. Cya in 2012, Bill.
Democrat Clint Hylton of Polo filed in the 6th Congressional district today. Hylton appears to be an insurance salesman and he will face Doctor Ted Rights of Hamilton in the Democratic primary to face noted Republican street-brawler Sam Graves in November.
Democrat (!?!?!) Scott Eckersley of Kimberling City filed in CD7 to face Tim Davis of Branson. Eckersley is best known for suing the state of Missouri, alleging he was fired for blowing the whistle on Blunt administration e-mail destruction. Tim Davis seems like a pretty qualified candidate and I hope Eckersley got the gift basket for joining the party already. If you’re a Democrat in CD7 and undecided, at least you’ll get a contested primary to vote in this Summer. Republican Steve Hunter of Joplin also filed in the 7th CD, expanding that field to 9 candidates.
And why yes, no Democrats filed against Blaine Luetkemeyer. But another Libertarian filed (Christopher Dwyer of Hallsville will face Steven Wilson of Westphalia). Hope the Libertarian isn’t embarrassingly crazy because he’ll be the only alternative to Luetkemeyer now.
Republican Ronald Beller of Kaiser and Libertarian Martin Lindstedt of Granby filed for the US Senate. Beller ran for Congress as a Democrat in 1992 and for the state House as a Republican in 1998, losing primaries both times. Lindstedt is a White Supremacist who ran in every cycle from 1994 to 2004, missing the last two while imprisoned/institutionalized. The Senate Field is 11 Republicans, 3 Democrats, 3 Libertarians, 2 Constitution Party candidates and 1 nutball racist write-in.
More under fold
2008 Republican CD4 nominee Jeff Parnell of Rogersville filed for the 4th district again, providing an early favorite to finish third in the 10 candidate primary.
Lots of Libertarians fueled up their freedom-powered minivan and filed today. Steven Hedrick of Warrensburg filed for Congress in the 3rd district, which is a few hours east of Warrensburg. Thomas Holbrook of Warrensburg filed in the 4th Congressional district, to create a contested primary with Jason Michael Braun of Harrisonville (and you say that there’s no Johnson/Cass rivalry). Randy Langkraehr of Warrensburg filed in the 5th Congressional District. Constitution party candidate Nick Ivanovich filed in the 3rd district as well.
Democrat James Long of St. Louis filed in the 4th Senate District. Republican Greg Zotta of Imperial filed to face Senator Ryan McKenna in the 22nd Senate District. Democrat Helen Steele Burton of St. Louis filed in the 24th Senate District. Constitution party candidate Richard Newton of Washington filed in the 26th Senate district. Republican John DeStefano of Kansas City filed in the 34th Senate District. Democrats are contesting 12 of 17 Senate Districts, Republicans are contesting 14 of 17 Senate Districts.
Democrat Robert Ritterbusch of Maryville filed to face Mike Thomson in HD4. Democrat Dale Toms of Polo filed to face Mike Lair in HD7. Republican Jason Gregory of St. Joseph filed to face Pat Conway in HD27. Republican Fred Walter filed in HD35 in a 3 candidate field, with the winner facing Democrat Jim Baldwin of Holt.
Four more Democrats filed to replace Roman LeBlanc in HD43 (who is leaving after one term). Ron Hunt, Karis Harrington, Randy Dunn, and Kim Douglass will join Mark Wassterstrom in that primary.
Democrat Penny Hubbard (mother of Rodney? asked Jake Wagman) filed in HD57 against Freshman Dem James Morris. Democrats David Leipholtz and Daniel Schesch filed in HD64. Republicans Patricia Verde and Damien Johnson filed in HD64 as well. Republican Bill Hartzog filed in HD66. Democrats Stephen Findley and Paul Kieselhorst filed in HD73, challenging Stacey Newman. Democrat Eillen McGeoghegan filed in HD77. Republican Ryan Meyer of Ballwin filed to primary Andrew Koenig in HD88 (no word on if Meyer likes tourism promotion). Republican Keith Guichet of Manchester filed in HD92, joining Don Griffin in primarying Sue Allen for some reason. Former State Rep and current Abe Lincoln lookalike George “Bob” Engelbach will be facing Ron Casey in HD103. Republican Joe Rusch will be facing Jacob Hummel in HD108. Democrat Cy Dashtaki of Jefferson City is running for the open seat in HD113.
Constitution Partier Gary Murray of Lawson filed in HD5. Constitution partier Steven Newton filed in HD95, setting up a contested Constitution Party primary with Charles Harter. Constitution Partier Jennifer Friedrich of St. Mary is running in HD157. While Libertarian Bill Wayne filed in HD121 and he will be facing our favorite Republican CPA and his much more qualified able Democratic opponent in November.
Our Congrats to Linda and John Fischer because they will be facing each other in November in HD107. If this is a “we’ll make it in the newspapers” campaign, I hope they use the same campaign manager to cut costs.
581 candidates filed total. 212 Republicans, 171 Democrats, 19 Constitution Party, and 11 Libertarians are running for the State House. The Libertarians filed more candidates overall than the Constitution Party, by a 28-27 margin.
Scott Eckersley has announced that not only he will sue Gov. Matt Blunt’s office for defamation of character, but that he will also sue several, as yet unnamed, Republican blogs for joining in the smear campaign.
In today’s Kansas City Star their resident political stenographer finally notices [tiny URL] that something is afoot with this e-mail thingy plaguing the “baby” Blunt Administration:
…There’s only one option left for Gov. Matt Blunt….
That’s a major staff shake-up that includes the ouster of his pedal-always-to-the-metal chief of staff, Ed Martin.
Only a move that dramatic, that far-reaching, will help Blunt shake off the aftertaste of a miserable month that has left his administration facing a probable lawsuit from a fired staff lawyer and a special investigator nipping at its heels.
This flare-up, of course, could hardly come at a more inopportune time….
Nah, dumping Ed Martin won’t help at all. It’s not just one person, it’s a pervasive attitude within the administration – driven by either gross incompetence or Machiavellian arrogance at the top. Come to think of it, the combination of the two sound like business as usual from dubya’s administration.
The stenographer’s political advice is the equivalent of rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.
“…This flare-up, of course, could hardly come at a more inopportune time…” You think?
There is one chuckle worthy line (well, we must give credit where credit is due) – the stenographer calls the recent media domino game:
Team Blunt has stepped in it. “It” is a combination of feces and bubblegum that stinks and sticks. Not all that many Missourians are paying attention to the scandal yet, but they will because, not only is it not going away, it’s gaining momentum. The furor bids fair to last into the campaign season and even to wind up in court.
Someone (Jay Nixon, eventually?) might sue the governor’s office for deleting e-mails in contravention of the state’s Sunshine Law and for refusing to reveal all the documents pertaining to this case. But that scenario is still distant. For now, Nixon is staying out of it and watching Bluntco hoist itself on its own petard.
Another thread of the scandal that could end up in court is the brouhaha over whether the state broke into Scott Eckersley’s private e-mail account. When Bluntco got wind that Eckersley had contacted the press, the office decided to preemptively smear him in the media. The state mailed boxes of his records, unsolicited, to the Post-Dispatch and to Tony Messenger at the Springfield News-Leader. Eckersley has proof that some of the e-mails in those boxes had to have been obtained from his private e-mail account. Hacking into a private account is illegal.
Eckersley has a document from his internet provider AppRiver, stating that on September 28th he requested his e-mails not be forwarded to his government account and that they stopped forwarding any e-mail. Yet some of the material that Blunt’s office sent to the Post and to Messenger was written after September 28th. Not only has someone in the governor’s office, then, gained unauthorized illegal access to Eckersley’s private account, that someone was stupid enough to send proof of the crime to the media.
Since the purpose of sending that material was to smear Eckersley as a sexual pervert and as someone who cheated taxpayers by doing work for his private firm on government time, he’s not likely to feel charitable toward his former bosses, especially since they still maintain he lied about warning them that deleting e-mails was illegal. At the very least, Eckersley is not going to shut up.
What he wants and what reporters want is for Matt Blunt to open all records dealing with this issue. Blunt’s reasons for refusing to do so must be powerful if they can induce him to continue inviting such unwanted scrutiny. Howard Beale, at Fired Up!, has a fine piece speculating on the reasons, starting with this quotation from one of Ronald Reagan’s wordsmiths: “Is it irresponsible to speculate? It is irresponsible not to.”
The first and most interesting conjecture has to do with the man who actually fired Eckersley, chief of staff Ed Martin. Perhaps:
*Crazy Eddie Martin has chosen this battle as his own personal Waterloo. Martin, who’s been both completely absent from the scene and who some have speculated is the target of coup attempts, remains inexplicably as the sole beneficiary of the complete protection of the Governor’s office. It is possible that Blunt has committed himself to the increasingly suicidal decision to hide the truth because Martin has made clear that the totality of his actions in connection with Eckersley must never become known. Already embarassed, Martin may well have made it clear to Team Blunt that he’s to be protected from further humiliation or else he shares the wealth and talks about what goes on inside the mansion.
Beale also thinks the stonewalling might be explained by Blunt himself having taken some part in this directly and not wanting it revealed. Or his resistance might be simply hubris–feeling that he is above the law and thus not required to explain himself to anyone.
The final possibility Beale offers is that:
*Blunt believes that doing the right thing in this instance will lead down a slippery slope to his having to comply with the law all the time. It’s possible that Blunt believes that if he caves on this matter and shares the truth that he will be expected to do so with respect to other controversial situations. He knows that –even if he slides on the Eckersley scandal– if the press gets the idea that it can access documents and communications about fee office distribution, his brother’s lobbying his office, the Nathan Cooper/James Harris scandal or any number of other sensitive items that he is irretrievably sunk. So he’s sticking by his guns, telling the media they’ll get nothing and like it.
It looks as if Matt Blunt is in for a long, hard bout of public embarrassment. Whether his malfeasance will sink into the public consciousness remains to be seen. One would think it would, but then again, his role model, George W. Bush, got away with far more for far longer, even managing to squeak by in the 2004 election. Let us hope that Blunt is not so fortunate in ’08.
…Democrat Jay Nixon is facing Republican charges that he broke the law by using his taxpayer-funded car for his political campaign.
Republican incumbent Matt Blunt is up to his nostrils in the Scott Eckersley caper. Eckersley is a former Blunt administration lawyer who was fired Sept. 28. Democrats and Republicans are in unison on that much….
The attorney for the former deputy counsel for Gov. Matt Blunt has requested an investigation into potential criminal wrongdoing in the governor’s office.
Springfield attorney Steve Garner of the Strong Law Firm, who represents fired state attorney Scott Eckersley, wrote a letter Thursday to two top Blunt officials requesting an investigation into possible “criminal” actions related to the access of Eckersley’s personal e-mail account after he was fired….
The to-do between Scott Eckersley and the entire Blunt administration hinges on one contested issue: Did Eckersley, previous to his firing, warn the governor that deleting e-mails was illegal under the Sunshine Law?
Blunt’s office, in the person of Rich AuBuchon, has insisted there are no such e-mails:
“Mr. Eckersley never once voiced a concern, never once wrote an e-mail, never once talked to other employees in the office evidencing any concern that the governor’s office was not complying with the Sunshine Law or any record-retention policies.”
So far, we don’t have the definitive answer, but we do have a pile of circumstantial evidence that Baby Blunt is lying. To begin with, Blunt is hiding the e-mails in question behind attorney-client privilege. Possible motives for doing that would be:
a) He wants to keep the story going, so that he can continue to look bad.
b) Like his role model, George Stonewall-’em Bush, he thinks no one should have the right to ever question him or make him prove anything.
c) There are several e-mails in there that would hang him, and he’d rather look guilty than be caught with his pants down.
Without the definitive proof, reporters are left to work with what they’ve got, and that would be the boxes of Eckersley’s effects that the Blunters shipped to the Post-Dispatch and to Tony Messenger at the Springfield News-Leader. According to Messenger, there are items of interest in those boxes:
One of the e-mails sent by the state to reporters was sent Sept. 20 from Eckersley to Jonathan Bunch, a former Blunt employee. Here’s what Eckersley wrote after Bunch asked about Eckersley’s discussions with his bosses about e-mail retention:
“Wow … I fired on people yesterday about that – I just got so sick of it – I emailed Chrismer and HH and ed.”
That Eckersley says he e-mailed Blunt spokesman Rich Chrismer, HH (probably attorney Henry Herschel) and ed (likely chief of staff Ed Martin) proves nothing, of course.
But it would sure indicate that somebody ought to be looking for e-mails to those three high-level Blunt staffers.
Messenger emphasizes the importance of that and other e-mails that are similarly inconclusive but that, taken together, indicate that Eckersley is credible.
One of the most intriguing parts of the story is that the governor’s office sent those boxes of Eckersley effects of its own free will. Nobody asked to see them (except for Eckersley’s attorney, who was refused). The state just … sent them, apparently without reading all of them first, since several of them lend credence to Eckersley’s claims. They sent out enough material to pique our interest and tar their own credibility, and now they want us to drop it.
Never mind being effective at governing. These dimwits weren’t even smart enough to leave well enough alone.
Some caution is advisable in taking Scott Eckersley’s word against the entire Blunt administration. After all, Eckersley did take a job with those scummy people, so why should we assume that the young lawyer is a pure-as-the-driven-snow idealist.
In the game of “he said/they said”, Eckersley claims he told the higher ups in the governor’s office that their policy of deleting e-mails was illegal. They didn’t like to hear that, so they fired him and promised to smear his character if he complained. They say he never said any such thing–until after he was fired for moral turpitude.
He claims he wouldn’t have gone public if they had at least given him a recommendation so he could get another job, preferably with the Romney campaign. They say he tried to extort the Romney job from them by inventing this tale about warning them to stop deleting e-mails.
Some “he said/they said” brouhahas are impossible to sort out, but not this one. This one’s plain. Bluntco is lying through its collective teeth, and as liars, they blunder around like drunks. As much practice as they get at evasion, equivocation and stretching the truth, you’d think they’d develop some skills.
Tony Messenger of the Springfield News-Leader outed the story with the original Sunshine Law request for e-mails that the governor’s office refused to honor, and Messenger has done yeoman’s duty reporting on all the subsequent developments. He says that the extortion claim is fishy at best when you consider how Eckersley went about protesting his firing:
When Eckersley first went to KC attorney Mike Ketchmark to talk to him about his wrongful termination case, Ketchmark advised Eckersley that this would be a very messy affair and that the best thing to do would be to make it go away. Eckersley agreed and Ketchmark tried to make that happen. He called former U.S. attorney Todd Graves, who then called Craighead to ask him to help get involved so this embarrasment would not hit the press. Craighead confirmed on the record this morning that it was Graves who first called him.
It makes no sense to go through a former U.S. Attorney (who was fired by Bush for being too ethical) if your aim is extortion. Intelligent liars would have at least considered Graves’ role before deciding to smear Eckersley’s character and to pursue the “extortion” angle.
Instead, they were eager to drag Eckersley through the muck, presumably because he had the temerity to mention that their e-mail policy did not conform to state law. To that end, they sent boxes of his records and e-mails, unsolicited, to the Post-Dispatch and to Tony Messenger. These were the same records that they had refused to send to Eckersley’s attorney because they were “private personnel matters.” So private that they sent them, unasked for, to two newspapers? Seriously. These guys are so dim they’re out of their depth in a puddle.
So it comes as no surprise that they were dumb enough to refuse to give Eckersley a recommendation and let him get another job. If they had done that, he’d have stayed quiet. The whole thing would have gone away.
But no, they had to be bullies. Now the press is asking to see the e-mails Eckersley says he wrote them warning them that deleting e-mails about state business was illegal. Eckersley says he’d be happy to make those public, but since he was Blunt’s lawyer when he wrote them, he’s not at liberty to make them public without Blunt’s permission: attorney-client privilege forbids it. And Blunt’s office is refusing to let the press see all the records.
If I were a public figure planning to deny that someone wrote me e-mails, it might occur to me in advance that I’d be asked to reveal all the e-mails so that the press could get at the truth. And, therefore, if I knew those e-mails did exist, I wouldn’t start a public hubbub. Because hiding them would look bad.
But that’s me. Bluntco apparently didn’t think this out, and now Blunt is hiding records to protect himself. Isn’t this where we came in, with Blunt being secretive and uncooperative? He looks guilty as hell. Hell, he is guilty as hell.
And he still hasn’t learned the lesson. He’s still deleting e-mails and daring anybody to file a civil suit to make him stop. Nixon could do so, but since that would look politically motivated, he has held off so far. And that’s a smart move, because, as long as Blunt keeps thumbing his nose at the public’s right to know, he looks more and more like his role model: George Stonewall-’em-and-lie-to-’em Bush.