St. Louis, Mo. — A prominent Republican Party donor released a sworn affidavit today stating Missouri Republican Party Chairman John Hancock made remarks to him about State Auditor Tom Schweich’s religion, which he took to be derogatory.
David Humphreys, CEO of Tamko in Joplin, Missouri, released an affidavit stating that Hancock told him in a meeting in last November that Schweich was Jewish, and that the “statement and tone” of Hancock’s statements implied that his religion was “a negative attribute for Tom Schweich’s gubernatorial race.”
Schweich, a Republican, shot himself in his Clayton home on February 26, barely a month after formally announcing his candidacy for governor in 2016. In the days leading up to his death, Schweich privately told reporters, close friends, and advisors that he was intending to publicly condemn Hancock — who assumed the MRP Chairman post only five days before Schweich’s death — for conducting an anti-Semitic “whisper campaign” against him.
Humphreys and Hancock met while Hancock was seeking the MRP post. Hancock was seeking donations from Humphreys, who has donated millions to Republican candidates and more than $100,000 to Schweich himself, for a new party voter database. In the meeting, Hancock’s mention of Schweich’s religion was interpreted by Humphreys as purposely negative.
Schweich was preparing to run against former U.S. Attorney and Missouri House Speaker Catherine Hanaway, who previously employed Hancock as an advisor. Hancock has repeatedly stated that he would be neutral in the primary between Schweich and Hancock but that he would support her in the voting booth.
Hancock has doubly denied claims that he made derogatory statements about Schweich’s religion in private conversations, stating that any mention of it would not have been intended to be negative. Schweich is Episcopalian, but his father and grandfather were Jewish.
“I met with David Humphreys on two occasions—September 12 and November 24,” Hancock said in a statement to The Missouri Times. “As I have consistently stated, it is possible that I mentioned what I believed to be Tom Schweich’s religion, but if I did so, it would have been at our earlier meeting and it certainly was not in a derogatory manner. I absolutely did not make that mistake at our November meeting because I had learned otherwise 10 days previously.”
Collin Reischman was the Managing Editor for The Missouri Times, and a graduate of Webster University with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism.