campaign finance

The latest campaign-finance report for Attorney General Chris Koster, the only major Missouri Democratic candidate for governor, shows that he continues to outraise his 2016 rivals on both parties.

Koster reports almost $4 million in the bank after raising almost a $1 million during past three months. Both tallies are more than those reported by any of the Republicans – including likely candidate Eric Greitens, who appears to have the most momentum on the GOP side.

Author Eric Greitens talks to 'St. Louis on the Air' host Don Marsh on March 16, 2015, at St. Louis Public Radio in St. Louis.
Alex Heuer / St. Louis Public Radio

Eric Greitens, author and former Navy Seal, has yet to officially announce whether he’s seeking Missouri’s Republican nomination for governor in 2016.

But St. Louis-based Greitens already has collected at least $1.4 million in 2015 in large donations of more than $5,000 apiece. His largest monthly haul -- $540,000 – was in June.

So far this year, Greitens has been Missouri’s undisputedly biggest recipient of large donations.

Rodney Hubbard
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

On this week’s episode of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies welcome former state Rep. Rodney Hubbard.

After serving in the Missouri House in the 2000s, Hubbard now works as a lobbyist and consultant. He's also a member of one of the region's most politically prominent families.

His clients include the city of St. Louis, AmerenUE and the Carpenters’ District Council of Greater St. Louis. He’s also done work in the past for Paul McKee, the controversial developer behind the Northside Regeneration project.

Attorney General Chris Koster parts ways with the Missouri Democratic Party on the issue of campaign donation limits. His position on the issue may make already difficult road to capping donations impossible if he becomes governor.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Sen. Rob Schaaf probably wouldn’t be classified as bleeding heart liberal.

Throughout his tenure in the Missouri General Assembly, the St. Joseph Republican took sometimes-provocative conservative positions in battles over Medicaid expansion and unemployment benefits. He's encountered rightward plaudits and gubernatorial jeers for his latest stance against a St. Louis stadium funding plan.

But Schaaf parts ways with his party on campaign donation limits.

photo of Thomas Schweich
Provided by the auditor's office

The campaign operation for the late state Auditor Tom Schweich, who killed himself, is reporting that it has returned more than $370,000 in campaign donations, including $75,000 to Clayton business magnate Sam Fox and his wife.

New numbers show Missouri's women who worked full-time earned about 78 percent of men's earnings in 2013.
(via Flickr/Tax Credits)

As Missouri legislators roam the state Capitol, they frequently run into familiar lobbyists. More and more, though, these lobbyists are working for groups financed by unfamiliar donors. In fact, their identity is secret.

Such groups are nonprofits officially known as 501C4s, a designation that refers to a provision of the IRS’ tax code. Since the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in 2010 known as “Citizens United,” these organizations can get involved in politics in favor or opposition of candidates, just like political action committees.

Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

To repair his reputation, Missouri Attorney Chris Koster has announced self-imposed guidelines on what campaign donations he will accept as he runs his office while also running for governor in 2016.

In a statement, Koster said he was advancing “sweeping new transparency measures’’ that he acknowledged were intended to address some conflict-of-interest accusations that have been leveled against him.

But he also suggested that the General Assembly consider imposing similar campaign limits on other public officials.

His key restrictions include:

Jo Mannies/St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster is proposing that the state’s voters be asked once again to increase the state’s tobacco tax, now among the nation’s lowest.

But instead of previous failed proposals that would have directed the bulk of the money raised for health care programs, Koster would use the estimated $400 million a year primarily to pay for state incentives to improve the business climate and attract more jobs.

Steve Stenger, Democrat, left, and Rick Stream, Republican, are running for St. Louis County executive.
Photos courtesy of the candidates

Steve Stenger, the Democratic candidate for St. Louis County executive, is entering the final weeks of the contest with more than twice the money in the bank as Republican rival Rick Stream.

In reports filed Wednesday, Stenger reported that he had raised $447,244 since the Aug. 5 primary and had $400,902 in the bank.  That compares to only $173,081 raised by Stream, who reported $155,068 on hand.

Stenger also has outspent Stream: $322,562 compared to Stream’s $246,512.

Rex Sinquefield
Courtesy of Rex Sinquefield's website

Former Missouri House Speaker Catherine Hanaway got $750,000 this week from wealthy financier Rex Sinquefield for her 2016 campaign for governor. That’s more than 10 times what she raised during the past three months.

That huge donation was condemned late Wednesday by her potential rival, state Auditor Tom Schweich, a fellow Republican. His campaign accused Hanaway of being “dependent on one man and his self-proclaimed ‘political army.’ “

DO NOT USE too small
Missouri Senate website

State Sen. Eric Schmitt, R- Glendale, has amassed more than $1.5 million in the bank in his bid to become Missouri’s next state treasurer – a notably hefty campaign war chest aimed in part in unsettling any potential 2016 rivals.

Schmitt provided St. Louis Public Radio with an advanced copy of his latest campaign-finance report, due today with the Missouri Ethics Commission.

His latest report, coupled with one he filed in late July right before the Aug. 5 primary, shows that Schmitt has raised $726, 700 since July 1.


The seven or eight people who love watching political ads will be in for an exciting three weeks.  

Everybody else in Missouri may want to become familiar with the “fast forward” button on their DVRs.

(via Flickr/Tracy O)

A fundraising quarter before an election is when Missouri politics starts getting real. 

And by “getting real,” I mean getting "real expensive.”

Tuesday is the deadline for campaign committees to turn in their fund-raising reports. These are the documents showing how much money political candidates and ballot initiatives have for the final push to the Aug. 5 primary.  They can also reveal how much cash is being shelled out in competitive primaries.

Bill Greenblatt | UPI

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., contends that Missouri’s “Wild West” approach to politics — which imposes no restrictions on campaign donations or lobbyists — is partly to blame for her party’s lack of a candidate for state auditor this fall.

But the senator also asserts that the current state of affairs for Missouri campaigns isn’t good for anyone or any political party, calling it “bizarre and, frankly, not good for our government.”

U.S. Supreme Court
Matt H. Wade | Wikipedia

(Updated 4:30 p.m., Wed., April 2 with comments from U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo.)

For the second time in four years, the five Republican-appointed justices on the U.S. Supreme Court have opened the door for rich donors to increase their influence on elections.

The latest chapter of Power Players – Jason Rosenbaum's periodic watchdog report on political fundraising in Missouri – shows that Democrats topped Republicans in collecting big donations in 2013. But Rex Sinquefield was the state's most prolific donor. Again.

File photo

When it comes to campaign financing, one name stands out: Rex Sinquefield. 

In 2013, an off year politically, the retired financier gave millions in campaign contributions — primarily to ballot initiatives and political action committees. Most of Sinquefield's money went toward an ultimately unsuccessful campaign to override Gov. Jay Nixon's veto of tax cut legislation. Sinquefield also gave hundreds of thousands of dollars for ballot initiatives, including one to curtail teacher tenure.

(via Flickr/401K)

For most intents and purposes, it was all quiet on Missouri's electoral front in 2013. But that didn’t stop the money from flowing to candidates and campaigns. 

Throughout last year, a diverse group of donors gave well over $21 million worth of donations of $5,000 or more. That money flowed to candidates, political party committees, ballot initiatives and political action committees in all corners of the state.

The long-simmering fight over campaign contribution limits is heating up once again. The latest chapter: a Kansas City court is to hear oral arguments Wednesday in the case between Missouri Roundtable for Life, which supports contribution limits, and libertarian interests, headed up by Rex Sinquefield.

Alderman Scott Ogilvie, I-24th Ward
Jason Rosenbaum/St. Louis Public Radio

Every week, St. Louis Public Radio and the Beacon's Chris McDaniel joins Jo Mannies and Jason Rosenbaum to talk about the week’s politics. 

On this holiday edition of the podcast, Jo Mannies and Jason Rosenbaum welcome St. Louis Alderman Scott Ogilvie, I-24th Ward to the show. Chris McDaniel is on assignment this week.