JOPLIN, MO – There is no more influential man in Missouri Republican politics than David Humphreys.
Humphreys’ reputation in politics has been built on a combination of very large and every effective political contributions that have reshaped both the political and business climates in Missouri, along with a personal reputation of steadfast, consistent, and – sometimes, his critics have suggested – rigid principles of high standing for moral conduct.
Humphreys’ contributions have consistently gone to Republicans – conservative ones – and typically very socially conservative and religious candidates. At times, Humphreys took to chastising those same Republicans for engaging in immoral behavior.
Such as the case in 2011 when Humphreys not only demanded Lt. Governor Peter Kinder, one of the state’s leading and long-standing conservative champions, return the over $100,000 in contributions he had given to him, but also called for the unmarried Kinder to resign as Lt. Governor after stopping in a bar where the wait staff served drinks while dressed in shorts.
More recently, Humphreys joined several high profile Republican business leaders and elected officials in contributing to Alabama Senator Doug Jones, a Democrat in his race against Republican candidate Roy Moore who, like Greitens today, was wrought with sex scandals.
However, the Humphreys precedent of holding politicians to high moral standards has been put on pause as Humphreys has chosen to maintain his support for the scandal-plaguing Governor Eric Greitens.
The married Greitens admitted to an affair minutes before a KMOV television report uncovered the affair and the recorded accusations of blackmail. However, unlike the case where the single Kinder visited a bar and Humphreys called for his resignation, he has chosen to continue to support the married Greitens during his sex scandal, leading some to question if the difference in his principle is more tied to the office than the morality.
“I think everybody who’s appalled and disgusted by his behavior should ask for their money back,” Rep. Lauren Arthur said.
The Missouri Times spoke to a source close to Humphreys who commented:
“The Humphreys family is still supporting the Governor, for now. Like the rest of the state, they are monitoring the situation and as more reports of his behavior come in, that could change.”
The state Capitol has been paralyzed since the Greitens scandal, leading both legislative chambers to meet for less than a collective 30 minutes on Thursday. As was the case last year with the state senate rebelling against repeated questionable dark money expenditures.
The stalemate meant the death of several pieced of legislation including the Merchandising Practices Act which Humphreys was reported to be a strong supporter of. Ethics reform was another example of legislation that was unable to pass last year in the wake of the Greitens’ dark money practices.
An hour before his latest scandal Greitens spent a good portion of his historically short state of the state speech lecturing the General Assembly on their ethical lapses and the need for ethics reform.
Attempts to reach Mr. Humphreys Friday were unsuccessful.
Rachael Herndon was the editor at The Missouri Times and also produced This Week in Missouri Politics, published Missouri Times Magazine, and co-hosted the #MoLeg podcast. She joined The Missouri Times in 2014, returning to political reporting after working as a campaign and legislative staffer.
Rachael studied at the University of Missouri – Columbia. She lives in Jefferson City with her husband, Brandon, and their two children.