JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – A nonprofit created explicitly to support the agenda of Gov. Eric Greitens attacked Sen. Rob Schaaf Thursday evening by tweeting his private, personal cell phone number and promoting the tweet.
A New Missouri, Inc.’s Twitter account used a promoted tweet, classifying it as an ad, which means they weren’t technically “tweeted” but it still appears in that format.
A web page on the nonprofit’s website also listed Schaaf’s private phone number as captured with the screenshot below. The Missouri Times has edited out Schaaf’s phone number and neglected to link to the web page and tweet, to avoid contributing to potential doxing.
Schaaf has been the central figure in an eventful week in the Missouri legislature as he continues his fight against managed care expansion – or at least the way it will be rolled out in this year’s House budget bills. He led several solo stalls and filibusters on the Senate floor, stymieing almost all Senate business this week and angering some members of the House, like Rep. Glen Kolkmeyer, who questioned why a weigh station bill to be sponsored by Schaaf in the Senate should be approved of by the House.
“The senator from the St. Joe district, the Schaaf district, has the companion bill,” Kolkmeyer said while speaking on the House floor Thursday afternoon. “Mr. Speaker, with everything going on in the Senate today and this week, why are we helping forward anything on the Senator from St. Joe’s agenda?”
The connection between the nonprofit’s allegation Schaaf is working with liberals is not entirely clear. Democrats are set to filibuster and have filibustered the circuit breaker tax credit cut, but Schaaf is running a parallel and unrelated filibuster not pertaining to that credit. Republican Sens. Gary Romine and Doug Libla, who are not liberal, have also taken the floor for periods at a time to stop a ratemaking bill that would make changes to Missouri’s utility companies.
The frustration boiled over at the end of Thursday’s session when Sen. Caleb Rowden mentioned several perceived ethical dilemmas of Schaaf’s, such as Schaaf’s renting of a room in Jefferson City from a lobbyist that represents a company Schaaf serves on the board of. Schaaf and Rowden got into a heated argument, and the Senate came to an abrupt end for the week, even though many senators had believed the Senate would convene Friday.
While the nonprofit is officially a separate entity of the governor’s office, Austin Chambers, a senior political advisor to Greitens, does work within the nonprofit, and it is staffed by multiple people who worked on Greitens’ campaign and funded by political donors for the effort. Schaaf himself took some time in his filibusters to attack the PAC, which can take in unlimited contributions without disclosing its donors.
Chambers responded to Schaaf Friday with two tweets.
The move by the nonprofit is yet another wrinkle from the governor’s office – or those close to him – in his relationship with the General Assembly, especially the Senate. Early in the 2017 session, Greitens personally attempted to whip votes for a resolution to deny pay raises for legislators. Several legislators felt he attempted to intimidate them into voting a certain way.
Greitens also ruffled feathers when he unilaterally created a paid family leave policy for some members of the executive branch. The policy, estimated to cost taxpayers $1.1 million per year, angered several members of the majority caucus enough that they delayed approving several gubernatorial appointees until Greitens personally spoke with them at a caucus. They felt left out of the decision-making process on a new program during a tight budget year, and the possibility other state employees would want such a plan as well, which would have a larger added cost.
It is unclear what the precise outcome of the ad will be, but this week was any indication, it will likely backfire spectacularly. Schaaf began his filibuster in Thursday’s afternoon session by dedicating nearly an hour of reading on the floor to Kolkmeyer.
Schaaf called the governor out in The Kansas City Star Friday morning, saying he “lacks courage.”
“I’m saddened that the governor lacks the courage to confront me directly but rather relies on his dark money donors to impugn my stands for liberty and the downtrodden, and against corruption,” he said.