Monday, July 7, 2008

"Candidates skirt donation limits"



The St. Louis Post Dispatch had a story on Sunday about candidates skirting donation limits via campaign committees. The article spent a considerable amount of time on one candidate, Chris Koster.

The pass-through system has been particularly helpful to one Democrat running for attorney general, state Sen. Chris Koster of Harrisonville. Of the $833,534 that Koster raised between Oct. 1 and March 31, 81 percent came from campaign committees.

The article goes on to detail who is funding these committees. Some of the most active contributors are wealthy individuals who seek to advance their causes: Rex Sinquefield, a semi-retired financier who seeks an end to Missouri's income tax and supports tax breaks for people who send their children to private or parochial schools. Rex Sinquefield wants vouchers to take kids out of public schools and put them into private schools and is willing to set up 100 PACS to fund candidates who support his vision of education in Missouri. The Post reports that Sinquefield, through his 100 PACS, gave Koster almost $300,000.

There is a 3 way primary for attorney general within the Democratic party. Koster's opponents wasted no time capitalizing on the Post article. You can see the ad above by CCP Endorsed candidate, Rep. Jeff Harris. Harris has put the much rumored Ashcroft/Koster ad on the air. Rep. Margaret Donnelly sent out this fundraising appeal:

Today the Republican attempt to buy our Democratic primary will begin in earnest in Kansas City and St. Louis. Koster and his expensive team will try to pull the wool over the eyes of voters. He will use his ads to avoid answering for his horrible record by saying that he is above politics. We must remind voters that it isn’t politics to ask him to be accountable for his record, it’s common sense. You don’t get “do-over’s” in politics, especially when we are talking about people’s lives.

. . .

The St. Louis Post Dispatch recently published an article that details how Koster has raised a staggering 81% of his campaign war chest from special legislative committees. What they don’t tell you is that Koster and his Republican allies like Rex Sinquefield are using these committees to funnel money in an attempt to buy the Democratic primary for Attorney General.


"Buy the Democratic primary!?!" The outcome of this race will be telling, because insiders in both major parties are asking that same question.

19 comments:

Anonymous said...

There is no difference between what individuals are doing and what organizations are doing. In the case of R. Sinquefield, he is very open about any of his donations. People have made such a stink about it, but they tend to ignore the fact other PACs are much more money being funneled to campaigns. He does not benefit from any of it, he simply wants to help Missouri, its citizens, and esp the children. His childhood sums up why he is doing what he is doing...he somehow got out of poverty and made his way in the world and now he is trying to give back to the community. Yes, he is giving to those politicians with similiar views, but who doesn't?

Anonymous said...

You don't help children by taking money out of their schools with school vouchers. You don't help children by supporting candidates that cut them from Medicaid rolls.

Rex Sinquefield is an extremist conservative who wants to make this disparity between the rich and poor greater.

Anonymous said...

Mr Sinquefield, while being a conservative, wants to do no such thing! He knows that the public education system is failing and the only real way to fix it would be to add a little compitition into the mix. Not only would children be given choices at the get-go, schools would have to improve or else they lose their children. The unions don't support it because they support themselves. I hesitate to bash the teacher unions because I love teachers and appreciate them. However, I feel the union as a whole looks out more for the teacher than the children.
My child is stuck in the STL schools...yeah, the ones that are failing! I cannot afford private school but it would be nice if my child could get a decent education just like another child in Clayton is getting in their public school. If every child is supposed to get a public education, why do some kids get wonderful ones while others get horrible ones? Why should the children suffer because some of us parents cannot afford to live in the better school districts?
And, just for the record, total vouchers are unconstitutional in the state of MO, so we would only get school choice if that were over turned or we got it in ways such as tax credits or scholarships.
And why would Rex want to make the disparity bigger? What would he gain if the public schools failed? Absolutely nothing! He wants to see children succeed, like he did.

Anonymous said...

A writer to the KC Star recently explained that, according to the KCMSD's 2008-09 budget, the school district will spend $19,000 per pupil enrolled in the school district. This means that for each child enrolled, $19,000 is budgeted for overhead, teachers' salaries, administrative salaries, etc.

Now, consider that it costs $15,000 to send your child to Pembrooke Hill. (It is less than $15K for the lower grades.)

How can anyone defend the dysfunctional and tax dollar-wasting KCMSD?

People: Wake up! This is ridiculous.

craig said...

anon @5:29
Many people use the KC School District to justify the voucher position. What they fail to realize is that the KC School District is an abomination. Check out the costs at other schools and you will see that. Or keep posting partial information to try to make your point.

Anonymous said...

While other school districts may be fine, we cannot let all the failing ones slip through the cracks because we are afraid the step away from the status quo and try something else. How long will we pour more money into a broken system? It just simply isn't working well anymore. Lets find a way to fix the schools...giving some variant of choice might be the answer. At this point, what do we have to lose? Schools failing...already happened. The other cities and states around the country that have started choice programs have seen dramatic improvement (while some of you I know will argue this but I know you cannot say they are worse off).
I don't mind paying for the children of our state to go to school, but why can't they use that money that would be allocated from them and chose where to go. Esp children who are in more dire need, such as children living in poverty or children with disabilities. Those children, without help, may be stuck in the wrong path for ever! And that is just too much to do to them.

Anonymous said...

Why not also mention that the Post Dispatch article focussed on Stowers, who is supporting Koster?

"Wealthy donor Stowers said through a spokeswoman that he gave to campaign committees that he believed would forward the money to candidates, such as Koster, who share his views on embryonic-stem cell research."

Anonymous said...

Craig -

I do not advocate for the elimination of public schools. I am a product of public schools. I like public schools.

But the KCMSD does not work (sorry for pointing out the obvious), and the parents and students within KCMSD need an immediate solution. I am not a proponent of vouchers. What about some form of a tax cut for those within the KCMSD who send their kids to private school?

Your counter will be that tax cuts will only encourage parents to send their kids to private school. My response will be: tax cuts give parents a way to afford a good education for their kids.

Where are our leaders? Where are the politicians willing to take this on?

craig said...

anon @ 8:13
I am not against targeted tax breaks for families that send their kids to private schools.
I say targeted for 2 main reasons;
1. I don't think rich people (I usually don't use such generic terms) who would be sending their kids to private schools anyway should get a tax break.
2. It should only apply to people in failing school districts.
You explained yourself well, I am just sick of most of the pro-voucher people using the KC School district in their argument but fail to mention all the successful school districts in this area.

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