Tom Schweich

Mo. State Auditor's office

Missouri state Auditor Tom Schweich appears ready to launch his expected 2016 campaign for governor.

If so, he will be the second well-known Republican to seek the job now held by Democrat Jay Nixon, who cannot seek re-election because of term limits.

Former House Speaker Catherine Hanaway declared her candidacy last year. The only announced Democrat is Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster.

Schweich’s campaign sent out a release late Tuesday saying only that he is making “a major announcement’’ at 4 p.m., Wednesday at the University of Missouri-St.Louis.

Tim Bommel | Missouri House Communications

 Tom Schweich has begun his second term as Missouri auditor.

Flanked by members of his family, Schweich was sworn in Monday by Supreme Court Chief Justice Mary Russell during a small ceremony inside the state auditor's office. He told a small group of family, friends, and supporters that his office would continue to root out corruption and fraud over the next four years.

"We've got some very important state audits" coming up, Schweich said.  "We're going to continue to do what we started four years ago, (and) we're going t0 take it up a notch every day."

DON"T USE TOO SMALL Claire McCaskill
Bill Greenblatt | UPI | File photo

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., has ended months of speculation by declaring that she’s definitely not running for governor in 2016 and is endorsing Missouri Attorney Chris Koster instead.

“I have an amazing job. I am challenged every day,” McCaskill said in an interview Monday with host Steve Kraske on KCUR-FM, the public-radio station in Kansas City.

“I love the work, and so at the end of the day, you’ve got to decide. ‘Is the job that you’re thinking about going for, is it a better job than the one you have? And can you do more?’ ”

(Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)

State Auditor Tom Schweich has yet to decide whether to run for governor in 2016, but he’s making clear that lots of high-profile fellow Republicans want him to do so.

On Thursday, Schweich’s allies released “an open letter’’ signed by more than 120 donors and party activists who want him to run for governor.

The aim of Schweich’s supporters is to portray him as a better choice, backed by more party big shots, than former House Speaker Catherine Hanaway, who already has declared her candidacy – and has promoted her own high-profile support.

Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

In 1991, then-Missouri Attorney General Bill Webster’s ascension to become the next governor seemed inevitable. He had the looks, charisma, campaign cash and the connections.

But then a controversy erupted over whether his office was giving preferential treatment to donors when it came to state contracts. A federal investigation ensued. Webster’s reputation took a huge hit.

Chris McDaniel, St. Louis Public Radio

This week, the Politically Speaking crew welcomes Gregg Keller, a locally based Republican consultant who now runs his own firm, Atlas Strategy Group.

Keller represents a number of corporate and political clients, including state Auditor Tom Schweich, who’s expected to run for governor in 2016.

A graduate of Clayton High School, Keller got his political start after college (Florida State). He began as a volunteer, and later as a staffer, for Jim Talent when he ran in 2002 for the U.S. Senate (defeating Democratic incumbent Jean Carnahan).

Friends of Tom Schweich

The only statewide political office up for grabs in Missouri this year doesn't appear to be anywhere near up for grabs.

State Auditor Tom Schweich, a Republican, is facing only token opposition from the Libertarian and Constitution parties, and the Democrats are not fielding a challenger. This contest may serve more as a campaign for Schweich's next political goal:

Libertarian nominee Sean O'Toole brought it up during a sit-down interview in September, saying that Tom Schweich is actually running for governor.

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.’ “

Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

State Auditor Tom Schweich is taking aim at a gated Downtown St. Louis parking lot that he says should be open to the public. 

At issue is a parking lot at 1100 Washington Ave., in the heart of downtown’s bar and entertainment district. The lot is maintained by the Washington Avenue Transportation Development District (TDD), which relies on a 1-cent retail sales tax to maintain and cultivate transportation infrastructure around Washington Avenue.

(via Flickr/s_falkow)

Among the public policy issues that have emerged since Michael Brown’s death, reforming municipal courts appears to have gained the most traction

Last week, Missouri Auditor Tom Schweich announced which municipal courts his office was investigating to see whether they’re keeping more traffic fine revenue than what’s allowed under state law.

St. Ann was one of the 10 municipalities on Schweich's list.

State Auditor Tom Schweich stands next to St. Charles County Executive Steve Ehlmann during his St. Louis press conference. Schweich announced he'll be auditing 10 municipal courts, including seven within the St. Louis metro area.
Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

State Auditor Tom Schweich will audit 10 municipal courts to see if they’re running afoul of a state law that restricts how much revenue from traffic fines a city can keep. 

The Republican official included Ferguson’s court in the tally; it has come under scrutiny since the shooting death of Michael Brown.

Besides Ferguson, Schweich will audit St. Louis County-based municipal courts in Bella Villa, Pine Lawn and St. Ann. He’ll also audit Foristell in St. Charles County and Foley and Winfield in Lincoln County.

photo of Thomas Schweich
Provided by the auditor's office

Missouri state Auditor Tom Schweich plans to unveil in a few weeks a new initiative to target municipal courts that he believes may be violating state law.

Schweich told members of the St. Louis Chamber at a luncheon Tuesday that his office soon will  “start picking five of the most suspect courts in the state each year and checking to see if they are complying with this new law -- whether they are mistreating any person of a different race or religion and also whether they are refunding money to the state or illegally keeping money for themselves."

State Auditor's office

Missouri Auditor Tom Schweich says an audit released Monday shows that Gov. Jay Nixon violated Missouri's constitution when he withheld money from two recent state budgets.

Schweich says the governor had no legal right to withhold $172 million from several state programs to help cover costs from the Joplin tornado and other recent natural disasters during fiscal year 2012.

Congressional office

Missouri’s Republican field for governor in 2016 may be about to get more crowded, as some party activists are urging U.S. Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer, R-St. Elizabeth, to enter the race.

If he were to jump in, Luetkemeyer would face former House Speaker Catherine Hanaway, a Republican from west St. Louis County who already has declared her candidacy, and possibly state Auditor Tom Schweich, a St. Louis native who is running for re-election this fall with no major opposition.

File photo

(Updated 5 p.m. Tues., April 15)

The latest campaign-finance reports show Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster, a Democrat running for governor in 2016, handily outpacing his potential Republican rivals when it comes to raising money – and banking it.

In reports due today, Koster had raised $539,364 so far this calendar year and had amassed just over $2 million in the bank.

That compares to $251,596 that state Auditor Tom Schweich reported raising since Jan. 1, with a bank account totaling $834,747 as of March 31.

A new audit says Missouri’s Department of Economic Development did not provide proper oversight to state tax credits designed to help developers clean up contaminated property.

In the report released Thursday, State Auditor Tom Schweich gave the Missouri Brownfield Tax Credit program his lowest rating possible. The program awarded more than $185 million in credits between 2000 and 2013.

Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

For all intents and purposes, the 2014 election season looks to be a great, big bust.

Nobody should be surprised, as 2014 was always a way station to 2016. But hardly anybody expected that the only statewide race on the ballot would feature state Auditor Tom Schweich facing off against a Libertarian or Constitution Party candidate -- but not even a token Democrat. And some previously heated state Senate contests completely fizzled out.

Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

(Updated 4 p.m., Tues., March 25)

State Auditor Tom Schweich issued a tough audit of the Missouri’s historic preservation tax credit, saying that the incentive that’s refurbished countless buildings throughout the state is too expensive and structurally inefficient. 

photo of Thomas Schweich
Provided by the auditor's office

The Missouri Department of Social Services is the target of most of the criticism in state Auditor Tom Schweich’s latest audit of all state spending fueled with federal money.

Schweich’s report, released Monday, states that the department has failed to fix a problem cited in the last three audits. Auditors had determined that the Department of  Social Services has failed to document that some low-income families are eligible for the federal aid they’ve been receiving.

Jason Rosenbaum/St. Louis Public Radio

Carl Miles' apartment at Rosie Shields Manor has everything he could want in a home – and then some. 

Miles’ spacious room has sleek wood-like floors and a modern-looking kitchen. He’s within walking distance of a bank and grocery store. And he can even throw parties in the Pagedale facility’s community room or common area – with management’s permission, of course.

“It’s wonderful. It’s a wonderful place to live,” said Miles, who is 70 and retired. “It’s got a lot of security. The people are generally pretty friendly. We socialize a lot. And we have a pretty good time.”

photo of Thomas Schweich
Provided by the auditor's office

State Auditor Tom Schweich released an audit critical of Missouri’s low-income housing tax credit, saying that the widely used incentive is inefficient and has a “very low” return on investment. 

And the Republican statewide official is hoping the audit will spur the Missouri General Assembly to break a years-long logjam on changing the state’s largest tax credit program.

Jo Mannies/St. Louis Public Radio

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. –  From U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt on down, Missouri Republicans at the party’s annual Lincoln Days festivities are full of confidence about their chances at the polls this fall and in 2016.

And the Affordable Care Act, also known as “Obamacare,’’ is getting much of the credit.

“If this disaster doesn’t help us take control of the Senate, it will surprise me,” said Blunt, who sparked several ovations at Friday night’s opening banquet of the weekend gathering, held this year at the University Plaza Hotel in Springfield, the senator's home turf.

photo of Thomas Schweich
Provided by the auditor's office

(Updated 2:50 p.m. Tues., Feb. 11)

Missouri state Auditor Tom Schweich unveiled today his campaign team for this fall’s re-election bid, in what is seen as a message about his campaign strength for a likely bid for governor in 2016.

Schweich’s list of team members includes many of the state’s biggest names in Missouri Republican politics:

photo of Thomas Schweich
Provided by the auditor's office

Democrats may be deciding between "fight or flight" when it comes to taking on state Auditor Tom Schweich in November.

Last week, state Rep. Jay Swearingen, D-North Kansas City, bowed out of the state auditor's contest. He told the Associated Press that he wanted to step aside for another Democrat who's better able to raise money for the race.

Chris McDaniel, St. Louis Public Radio.

Updated 11:50 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 15

The latest campaign-donation numbers are adding more intrigue to St. Louis area’s marquee contest this year between St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley and County Councilman Steve Stenger.

Stenger outraised fellow Democrat Dooley during the last quarter of 2013 -- $245,032 to $115,414. Their latest campaign reports, filed Wednesday, also show Stenger with more in the bank: $638,158 to $458,154.

(Official Portrait, Missouri Attorney General's office)

While Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon, Secretary of State Jason Kander and even some Republicans talk about restoring limits on campaign donations, the man considered the likely Democratic nominee for governor in 2016 is collecting large donations at a frenetic clip.

Just this year, Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster has raised more than $1.2 million from 68 donations larger than $5,000 apiece, according to the Missouri Ethics Commission’s records. In fact, most of his large donations have been more than $10,000 each.

(via Flickr/clementine gallot)

A new audit released Tuesday finds that some welfare recipients in Missouri have used their benefits to buy things besides food and other daily necessities, while others may have moved away but continue to get in-state benefits.

David Stonner/Missouri Department of Conservation

A report released on Friday by the Missouri auditor's office says the state continued to overspend on its elk restoration project, even after a 2011 audit found it was way over budget.

The current audit found the Missouri Department of Conservation spent close to $3.4 million to bring 129 elk into the state. Only an estimated 115 elk have survived.

But conservation department Deputy Director Tom Ripperger says those figures are misleading.

(via Flickr/frankjuarez)

A state audit released Tuesday finds that local governments and school districts in Missouri have cost themselves $43 million by not allowing competition for underwriting public bonds.

State Auditor Tom Schweich (R) cites the practice of negotiated bond sales, in which an underwriter is hired in advance and sometimes acts as a financial advisor to the local government that issues the bond.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon. - Many of Missouri’s best-known Republicans – present and past -- are gathering here in a couple weeks for a huge display of support for state Auditor Tom Schweich. His contest will be at the top of the Missouri ballot a year from now.

But some party activists already are privately speculating that the big-ticket gathering Nov. 17 at the Clayton home of business magnate Sam Fox also may signal a show of force behind Schweich should he decide to run for governor in 2016.