Dottie Bailey for state rep in District 110

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Dottie Bailey

A classic Tea Party vs. RINO battle is taking place in a safely Republican state representative district in southwest St. Louis County (mostly Eureka and parts of Pacific and Wildwood). It’s a battle for the soul of the Republican Party that demands your attention, even if, like me, you don’t live anywhere near the district.

I proudly endorse Dottie Bailey, who has been a Tea Party activist for several years. Bill Hennessy, co-founder of the St. Louis Tea Party Coalition, is her campaign treasurer. She is actively engaged in the grassroots activity of Heritage Action for America (a political affiliate of The Heritage Foundation) as a Sentinel. Her efforts to curb abuses by the unaccountable Consumer Finance Protection Bureau were recognized on a national level when Heritage Action honored her with a plaque on its national Wall of Honor. She was also in the forefront of the Tea Party’s humanitarian BUYcott to save small Ferguson businesses (mostly minority owned) after the Michael Brown riots in 2014. Hennessy has written extensively about her efforts here and here.

But it was Dottie’s interaction with her children’s school district that led directly to this contest. Bill Hennessy reports how she attends school board meetings, demanding the district promote liberty and sound fiscal management. She protested the district’s recklessness and cronyism, which had prompted former State Auditor Tom Schweich to give the district a failing grade. When this state rep seat opened up unexpectedly this year with the retirement of respected conservative Rep. Kirk Matthews, Dottie filed for the seat. Days later, Matt Doell, a director from the school board, filed against her in the Republican primary. Another school board director serves as his campaign treasurer and the current board president wrote his campaign a check.

The contest has turned into a classic Establishment vs. Grassroots battle. As of July 26, Doell had outraised Dottie, $33,381 to $25,665. Dottie hates having to ask people for money. What Dottie has instead is an army of enthusiastic volunteers, as well as her own personal work ethic. Hennessy reports that Dottie has already knocked on 3,000 doors. She also has the support of respected conservative leaders, including current State Rep. Kirk Matthews, County Councilman Mark Harder, and former House Speaker Tim Jones, who represented this area.

To see the battle lines, follow the money.  Doell’s big contributors are primarily  contractors and their employees, individuals with Democrat, labor or establishment Republican ties, and the education establishment. The big money is from contractors, with the Government Affairs Committee of the St. Louis Chapter National Electrical Contractors Association, AGC of MO PAC, ASA Midwest PAC, Mason Contractors Association and employees of electrical contractors pitching in over $10,000. This includes an individual $500 donation from Guarantee Electric’s David Gralike, whose late father Donald Gralike was president of IBEW Local 1 and a Democratic state senator. (I have been unable to confirm whether Doell contributor Tim Green is the former north county Democratic state senator of that name.) Ray Wagner, husband of RINO Congresswoman Ann Wagner, donated $500, and his employer’s PAC, Enterprise Holdings PAC, added another $750. Better Schools for Missouri PAC donated $1,000 to Doell, and the Missouri State Teachers Association Legislative Impact Committee added another $250. Both of those “education” PACs mainly support teachers unions and donate primarily to Democrats. The Swamp.

In contrast, Dottie’s PAC money comes from traditional conservative sources, including $500 from Leadership for America, the leadership PAC of former Missouri House Speaker Tim Jones, and $500 from Missouri Club for Growth. Her largest PAC contribution was $2,600 from the Next Generation GOP PAC. David Humphreys, the conservative businessman Claire McCaskill loves to hate, pitched in $2,600 earlier this month. World Wide Technology’s David Steward donated $500, and his CL PAC added another $1,000. Where Dottie has clearly outraised Doell is from individuals contributing $100 or less. Grassroots. If you would like to add your own grassroots contribution to Dottie, you can do so here.

Jefferson City needs Dottie’s principled conservative voice.

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Wasinger is best choice for MO state auditor

Dual attorney/CPA skill sets will help unseat incumbent Democrat

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The Unablogger

Four Republicans are vying for the right to take on State Auditor Nicole Galloway, the last remaining Democrat holding statewide state office in Missouri. Voters elected Republican Tom Schweich state auditor the last time the office appeared on the ballot, but his death enabled Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon to flip the office with the stroke of a pen. He appointed fellow Democrat Galloway to fill the vacancy. She is unopposed in the Democratic primary for a full term.

Republicans want the office back, and it is important for them to win it. The state auditor is in the line of succession to become governor to fill a vacancy, ahead of both the state treasurer and attorney general. In addition, a ballot initiative misnamed “Clean Missouri,” if passed by voters in November, would give the state auditor an important new role in redistricting.  A Republican auditor could prevent Democratic gerrymanders like those that took place after every census from 1930 through 2000, but a Democrat like Galloway could turn those reins back over to her party, in spite of most Missouri voters now voting Republican.

Perhaps most important, the strength or weakness of the Republican nominee for state auditor could also affect this year’s other statewide contest, the nationally crucial race for the U.S. Senate seat now held by Democrat Claire McCaskill.

All four GOP candidates for auditor offer excellent professional qualifications, and all four are endorsed by the Missouri Right to Life PAC; but Republicans need to nominate their very best. In a prior post (which I encourage you to read if you haven’t yet), I explained why Republicans should not nominate Saundra McDowell, whose law degree, military service and professional experience would likely be overshadowed by her residency problem and $55,000 in court judgments against her. These problems are largely unpublicized.

Kevin Roach is an attorney and an alderman in Ballwin. His walk across the state (from Ballwin to Warrensburg) to persuade the University of Central Missouri to make its budget public was impressive, even scoring a write-up by popular St. Louis Post Dispatch columnist Bill McClellan. But Roach’s resume and experience are thin compared to his opponents, and his fundraising has been the weakest of the four.

Paul Curtman is a term-limited state representative from Union. He has been a favorite of the St. Louis Tea Party from the beginning of his political career, and some friends whom I respect support him in this contest. Curtman emphasizes his leadership and experience as a four-term legislator. He notes that Galloway has failed to exercise leadership in favor of legislation fixing problems her audits mentioned, and he promised to fill that leadership void and work with the legislature to craft solutions. Curtman was one of just a handful of legislators to refuse to sign the petition for a special session to consider impeachment of then-Gov. Eric Greitens, a stand that could hurt his chances in November. Curtman is a veteran and a financial adviser, but is neither an attorney nor a certified public accountant (CPA).

Ever since 1970, when a young Republican lawyer named Kit Bond took on Missouri’s Democrat good-ole-boy establishment and upset State Auditor Haskell Holman, every state auditor, whether elected or appointed, has possessed the professional credentials of either an attorney, a CPA or both. Voters expect and demand that level of professionalism for this office. Galloway herself is a CPA. David Wasinger is the only Republican candidate who is a CPA. He is also an attorney. He utilized both skill sets when he represented a whistle blower against the Countrywide Home Loans unit of Bank of America over shoddy mortgage and related securities that helped precipitate the 2008 financial crisis.. A Manhattan-based assistant U.S. attorney credited Wasinger (whom she described as “a very dogged and determined lawyer”) with drafting a solid complaint that got “the government’s foot in the door.” Wasinger’s lawsuits helped the federal government recoup over $18 billion in penalties for American taxpayers. (This 2014 Reuters article provides a detailed look at these lawsuits and Wasinger personally.)

Wasinger is the only Republican candidate who has raised any significant campaign funds. He has raised over $877,000 as of June 30, including $500,000 of his own money. Even without counting his own contributions, he has raised nearly four times as much as all of his Republican foes combined. Democrat Galloway starts off with over a million dollars in the bank. Wasinger is the only Republican capable of raising the funds needed to wage a successful challenge.

Wasinger’s dual attorney/CPA credentials and skill sets will be attractive to voters in the general election and useful in that office. That, together with his principled conservatism, impeccable ethics and successful fundraising make him the best candidate in a strong field. I endorse David Wasinger for state auditor.

My judgment is validated by like endorsements from leading Missouri conservatives. They include former Lieutenant Governor Peter Kinder (who was my choice for Missouri governor in 2016), who reliably had the Tea Party’s back, even when that wasn’t cool; Senate President pro tem and former House Speaker Ron Richard of Joplin; Assistant Senate Majority leader Dr. Bob Onder of Lake St. Louis, a conservative leader in the senate (and my allergist); and State Reps. Kathy Swan of Cape Girardeau, Dean Plocher of St. Louis County and Rocky Miller of Osage Beach. Not surprisingly he also has the support of St. Louis County Councilwoman Colleen Wasinger.

I am not unbiased in making this endorsement. David Wasinger has been a friend of mine for nearly 30 years. But my admitted bias also offers a unique perspective on his candidacy. In numerous conversations over the years he has demonstrated that he is a principled conservative. I know him to be honest, capable, ethical, religious and professional. I know from experience that he is the real deal.

Republicans need a strong, qualified candidate to challenge incumbent Galloway and have a positive impact on the U.S. Senate race. David Wasinger is that guy.

 

 

 

Doubts about McDowell’s auditor candidacy

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At last week’s forum for Republican candidates for Missouri state auditor, all four  candidates made very credible appearances, and all four also practiced Ronald Reagan’s famous 11th Commandment: Thou shalt not speak ill of any other Republican candidate. Unfortunately, this welcome display of civility deprived Republican primary voters of information about how one of them could be especially vulnerable to Democrat attacks in the general election.

An internet search uncovered a Columbia Tribune article about candidate Saundra McDowell that makes me wary of her candidacy.  The article states that Mrs. McDowell has $55,000 in judgments against her and that her Missouri residency may fall short of the ten years required to hold the office.

The judgments, according to the article, are for unpaid rent and failure to pay a promissory note from  a private law practice she and her husband conducted from 2010 to 2014. Two months after the article was published (and shortly after the deadline for filing for office), another repercussion of that law practice materialized when the Missouri Supreme Court suspended the license of her husband and law partner, Jonathan McDowell, indefinitely, with no right to apply for reinstatement for one year. The St. Louis Record, a legal newspaper, reported that the suspension was due to his failure to timely file in state court, costing an airline pilot his employment discrimination case.

Incurring judgments for debt speaks poorly of a candidate’s financial acumen, which is important for a financially-related office like auditor. The licensure problems apparently belong solely to Mrs. McDowell’s husband, and apparently involved negligence and malpractice, not dishonesty. Nevertheless, these facts would sound terrible when packaged in a vicious Democrat attack ad that could cripple Republican chances to win the office if she would become the nominee.

The residency issue is more complex.  Mrs. McDowell first registered to vote in Missouri in 2010, only eight years ago. According to the Tribune,  Mrs. McDowell claims that her Missouri residence began earlier when she met her St. Louis husband in law school and decided that they would marry and make their home in Missouri after school. She cites the “intent” element of residency that the Missouri Supreme Court relied on in upholding Kit Bond’s right to be a candidate for governor in 1972, after having attended law school and then been employed outside the state. Bond, however, had been a Missourian prior to going away to school and maintained his voter registration in Missouri the entire time. Mrs. McDowell had been a resident of Oklahoma when she went away to school, residing temporarily in Virginia when she met her husband and formed her intent to move here. While one can arguably self-identify as a woman to use the women’s rest room in Target, self-identifying as a Missourian two years before moving here may not satisfy the residency requirements. In any case, valuable campaign resources and time would be wasted by the inevitable post-primary challenge to her residency.

Other than the Tribune article, which appeared in February, before filing for office had even begun, I can find no main-stream media coverage of these issues concerning Mrs. McDowell. That’s not surprising. Pro-Democrat media have no desire or intention to inform Republican voters prior to a primary election. For example, in 2002 the St. Louis Post Dispatch made no mention of a Republican primary candidate’s felony conviction until the day after the primary, which the flawed candidate won. Then it became front-page news. The timing made it clear that the Post knew and consciously concealed the damaging information until it was too late for Republican primary voters to react.

With voters in the dark, Mrs. McDowell could win the primary. She is photogenic, personable, and has relevant experience to be a qualified candidate. But Republicans should not risk subjecting their ticket to the vicious attack ads that her nomination would foster, especially when there are better alternatives: all three of her three primary opponents (in ballot order, Kevin Roach, David Wasinger and Paul Curtman) are quite capable and, to the best of my knowledge, lack that kind of baggage. I think one of those candidates stands out above the others, and I will write about that in my next post.

Auditor Galloway whitewashes food stamp fraud

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Missouri State Auditor Nicole Galloway (D) issued a report this week criticizing (sort of) how the Missouri Department of Social Services tracks fraud in the food stamp program (SNAP). While noting that thousands of SNAP dollars had been spent by people who were apparently dead or incarcerated, as well as millions spent out-of-state, and that the state often had not properly reviewed the transactions, she graded the department’s system for detecting fraud as “fair.”

Fair?

The audit covered 2015 and 2016, during the administration of fellow Democrat Jay Nixon, who had appointed Galloway to her position.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that a spokesperson for the Department of Social Services (under the current Republican administration) had written that the department had already reformed its system for evaluating out-of-state transactions earlier this year and was working to improve several other areas cited in the report.

Ms. Galloway’s report did not mention that the period investigated was entirely during the prior Democratic administration or any of the changes already put in place by the current Republican administration.

Porn star’s lawyer tied to Democrat establishment

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It is the mission of the mainstream media to take Trump down, often by legitimizing and even glorifying any and all Trump accusers. That gets challenging when the accuser has her own credibility problems, such as performing in pornography. The MSM outlet in St. Louis, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, addressed that challenge by trying to make the accuser’s lawyer seem warm, cuddly, and therefore believable.

The Post  published an intended puff piece on Michael Avenatti, the attorney for Stephanie Clifford (a/k/a Stormy Daniels), the porn star seeking to dish dirt about her alleged relationship with President Donald Trump. The Post sought to embellish the credibility and likeability of the porn star by pointing out how her Hollywood lawyer is actually a local boy. He loves the Cardinals and eating on the Hill – very important, of course, in assessing the credibility of the President’s accuser.

But columnist Joe Holleman was too thorough in digging up Avenatti’s local roots. He inadvertently exposed the lawyer’s deep contacts with the Democratic Party establishment, notably its opposition research operation.

Holleman notes that, during Avenatti’s only year at St. Louis University, local politico Joyce Aboussie hired him to work in the campaigns of then House Minority Leader Dick Gephardt and Democratic County Executive Buzz Westfall. Contacts made during his Gephardt stint got him a later, longer gig with a political opposition research firm run by now Chicago mayor (and former Obama chief of staff) Rahm Emanuel.

The porn star’s representation by a veteran of Democrat Party opposition research tells you what you need to know about the motivation behind this legal attack on President Trump.

Thoughts on the Greitens indictment

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A grand jury in the City of St. Louis, at the behest of Circuit Attorney Kimberly Gardner (D), has indicted Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens (R) on a single Class D felony count of invasion of privacy, arising out of Greitens’ alleged non-consensual photograph of consensual extramarital sex play in 2015, prior to his campaign for governor. The indictment apparently beat the expiration of the three-year statute of limitations by less than a month.

 If Greitens photographed the woman, without her consent, while she was in a state of full or partial nudity, he is in violation of Missouri’s invasion of privacy law passed in 2002. If he transmitted the photo in a manner that allowed access to that image via computer, the offense was upgraded to a Class D felony (a Class E felony since 2017) instead just a misdemeanor.

Greitens has admitted the extramarital affair involving this sexual encounter, but has denied photographing the woman.

The matter came to light because the woman’s husband at the time of the incident secretly recorded her confession of her infidelity to him. (Am I the only one to see the irony and hypocrisy of an invasion of privacy charge based on the secretly recorded private conversation of the victim?) Press coverage to date has indicated that the woman wishes to maintain her privacy and (apparently) not testify. Even if Greitens took such a photo, the prosecution may be hard pressed to establish that she is the woman in the photo and that she did not consent, unless she testifies. I believe that the hearsay rule would exclude the ex-husband’s testimony, and the constitutional right to cross-examine adverse witnesses would preclude admission of the recording. Establishing that the photo was taken (and presumably its content) could probably be proven with subpoenaed phone records (if it was taken with a cell phone). The felony upgrade would seemingly be satisfied if the photo were transmitted to the phone’s cloud, even if done automatically without further action by Greitens. It would not matter if Greitens never let anyone see the photo or if his cloud was accessible to no one but himself, because the poorly drawn statute only requires that the photo be transmitted in a manner that allows access to it (not necessarily by anyone else) via computer.

So it pretty much comes down to whether the victim will testify that Greitens took such a photo and that she did not consent. If she is unwilling, the state could conceivably seek to compel her testimony, enforceable if necessary by incarceration for contempt of court. But what prosecutor is willing to do that to a victim? If Gardner were willing to do that to this victim, why hasn’t she been using that tactic in any of the city’s unsolved murders that have taken place during her tenure?

Legal mumbo jumbo aside, the politics of this case stinks. A politically ambitious prosecutor from one party seeks to take down the state’s governor from the other party, pursuing a case over the apparent objections of the alleged victim, using a grand jury drawn from a jurisdiction that voted against the governor by 5-to-1. If the case goes to trial, the jury will be selected from that same jurisdiction, unless the governor seeks and receives a change of venue. Greitens’ attorney, well-respected Democrat Edward Dowd, charged that the statute has never been used like this, and that Gardner had circumvented the local police force and hired her own investigators to get the desired result. What a star chamber!

In the justice system, Greitens has the same right as any other defendant to be presumed innocent until proven guilty. In politics, not so much. “Indictment” is merely a formal accusation, but it sounds terrible to the average voter. Even worse is the word “felony.” Never mind that this is the lowest level of felony, that the likely punishment for a first-time offender would be a fine and maybe probation, or that what made it a felony might simply have been the phone’s automatic transmission to the cloud. In politics, perception is more important than fact, and the perception here is really bad. Even if Greitens’ lawyers succeed in getting charges dismissed, the damage is done. Absent conviction, I doubt that Greitens would be impeached or removed; but his reelection prospects in 2020 are now bleak.

But Gardner’s trophy may come at a steep price for the city (and perhaps for increasingly Democratic St. Louis County as well). If a Republican governor can be taken down on minor charges by grand juries and juries stocked with political opponents, people known to be Republicans or conservatives should and probably will refrain from residing, transacting business or doing anything else that could subject them to the jurisdiction of such courts. Quite an economic price for Gardner’s political opportunism.

UPDATE (3/1/2018): The legal minds working for Gov. Greitens have a more nuanced reading of the statute than my very literal interpretation above, and they might be right. They claim that the legislative history of the statute would preclude its application to this case. The law was adopted in response to clandestine photography of unsuspecting customers in a tanning salon. Attorney Jim Bennet says that the law only applies to situations such as voyeurs or peeping toms who take photographs in locations such as restrooms, tanning beds, locker rooms, changing rooms and bedrooms, not to consensual sexual activity.

Greitens’ lawyers also deny that the alleged victim would have had a reasonable expectation of privacy, a seemingly obvious element of the crime I didn’t even mention. While sexual activity in a private home enjoys a reasonable expectation of privacy vis a vis the rest of the world, they suggest that is not the case as between the participants themselves, who expect and want the other party to see them undressed.

None of this may matter, though, because prosecutors have now admitted that they don’t even have the alleged photograph, buttressing Greitens’ contention that it doesn’t exist.

McCaskill wrong on sex trafficking

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U. S. Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) tried to score political points against her likely Republican challenger, Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley, by claiming that his remarks about the sexual revolution’s impact on the sex trafficking crisis was somehow anti-woman. The opposite is true.

What Hawley said was that in the 1960s and ’70s (a period of loosened sexual mores that has come to be known as the sexual revolution), it became socially acceptable for Hollywood and the media to treat women as objects for male gratification, and that such demeaning view of women helped fuel current harassment, inequality, and sex trafficking. He criticized the cultural elites for, in Hawley’s words, “denigrat[ing] the biblical truth about husband and wife.” His audience was a gathering of clergy at an event hosted by the Missouri Renewal Project.

McCaskill distorted Hawley’s remarks into an attack on birth control, which Hawley never mentioned and, in fact, supports. She went on to claim that the sexual revolution had created more freedom for women by expanding their access to birth control. As a Boomer who experienced the sexual revolution in real time, Claire should know better. The sexual revolution didn’t cause advances in birth control; it was the other way around. Advances in birth control caused (or at least fueled) the sexual revolution. And this was not empowering to women, because it shifted the perceived responsibility for birth control from men wearing condoms to women taking pills, at least in the minds of many men initiating sexual contact. Eventually, as portrayed in HBO’s Sex in the City, women now routinely protect themselves by carrying condoms for men in their purses.

Note that Hawley cited the sexual revolution as an influence, not the proximate cause, of the current crisis in sex trafficking. He was in fact siding with women against sexual predators. He lamented today’s exploitation of women, which he said was “on a scale that we would never have imagined.”

Beyond rhetoric, Hawley’s record speaks for itself. Shortly after being sworn in as Missouri Attorney General, he created an anti-sex-trafficking unit in his office and sued Backpage.com for allegedly promoting the practice.

McCaskill, though, has justifiable confidence that mainstream media outlets will spin the situation to fit McCaskill’s narrative. Indeed, right on cue, both of the state’s liberal urban dailies, the St. Louis Post Dispatch and Kansas City Star, headlined that Hawley “blame[d]” sex trafficking on the sexual revolution.