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Sinquefield's millions still put him behind Stowers

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, June 18, 2010 - Notice is legitimately being paid to wealthy financier Rex Sinquefield and his huge donations -- $6.79 million so far -- on behalf of a ballot effort to restrict, and perhaps repeal, local earnings taxes in St. Louis and Kansas City, and bar them elsewhere.

His latest donation is $2.534 million this week to the campaign group, Let Voters Decide, that he helped create.

But although Sinquefield is the state's largest individual campaign donor since 2008, his largess still trails that of James and Virginia Stowers of Kansas City, who donated close to $30 million to the 2006 pro-stem cell campaign.

The Stowers' largest single donation -- and arguably the largest one-time campaign contribution in state history -- was $4.22 million on Sept. 30, 2006, to the Missouri Coalition for Lifesaving Cures, the chief group behind Amendment 2, which protects in the state all forms of stem cell research allowed under federal law.

During that year, the Stowerses made at least four other contributions -- ranging from $2.62 million to $3.208 million -- that exceed any of Sinquefield's individual donations so far.

Jo Mannies has been covering Missouri politics and government for almost four decades, much of that time as a reporter and columnist at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. She was the first woman to cover St. Louis City Hall, was the newspaper’s second woman sportswriter in its history, and spent four years in the Post-Dispatch Washington Bureau. She joined the St. Louis Beacon in 2009. She has won several local, regional and national awards, and has covered every president since Jimmy Carter. She scared fellow first-graders in the late 1950s when she showed them how close Alaska was to Russia and met Richard M. Nixon when she was in high school. She graduated from Valparaiso University in northwest Indiana, and was the daughter of a high school basketball coach. She is married and has two grown children, both lawyers. She’s a history and movie buff, cultivates a massive flower garden, and bakes banana bread regularly for her colleagues.

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