There is a troubling theme developing in state politics, if you disagree with someone and they are proving effective at moving the debate in a direction you oppose, you file an ethics complaint on them and encourage the FBI to investigate them.
David Humphreys is the latest example of someone who is being targeted not to defeat his ideas or to defeat him at the ballot box but to file seemingly silly ethics complaints and make completely irresponsible demands that he should be investigated by the FBI.
Look, I don’t know David Humphreys. I’ve met him a couple times, but I don’t think he would have a clue who I am. I actually happen to agree with Mr. Humphreys on most matters of public policy. However, on issues dealing with harassing union members, I just simply don’t agree with him.
I just think the gubment should get its own house in order before trying to run labor unions, and furthermore, it’s my personal opinion that most of these laws are merely Republicans using the power of the government they now control to harass groups they view as political opponents, but that’s just my opinion.
Further, I thought his running television ads against Republicans who didn’t strictly follow his ideology was petty and irresponsible. I’ve previously pointed out that the super majorities the Republican party enjoys today were actually built on the backs of labor-friendly Republicans winning swing districts.
They were recruited to run in part because of their labor-friendly views. However, to his credit when I stared in politics I was driving posts to hang signs that his contributions paid for. While were on the subject, most folks would caution Republicans heads from getting too big. Republicans really only control all branches of state government because of the overwhelming popularity of a New York City real estate developer who has repeatedly said he is a friend of labor.
Its also fair to note that yes many on both sides of the aisle would like to make donors like Mr. Humphreys just throw their hands up and bow out of politics because its not worth the grief. But its fair to remember that in a world where most big donors could be tempted to just give to dark money candidates and avoid any transparency or scrutiny he is on the front line taking the bullets for his beliefs.
While I disagree with Mr. Humphreys ideas on a couple fronts, there is literally no part of me that thinks he is corrupt….none. Further, I’ve seen literally not one single shred of evidence showing that he has done anything close to corrupt. It’s beneath lawmakers to make allegations without some fact to hang their hat on.
Members of the General Assembly don’t seem to like it when other politicians and demagogues call them corrupt while citing no proof, as they shouldn’t, but when they do it to others it really makes them not as sympathetic as they might otherwise seem.
No one has presented any evidence that Mr. Humphreys handed Senator Ron Richard a check after he agreed to file a bill, and I haven’t seen one person who believes that happened. I don’t believe reserving parking spots in the Senate garage for employees of large donors is illegal and I personally know it’s been done since republicans took over the senate.
The old timers will tell you the Senate used to have state employees wash the cars of senators, staff, and guests on the first floor back in the day. If its a practice that outlived it use then Im sure if the rules are changed all will abide by them.
Senator Richard can be direct, and honestly he is pretty tough on some people who I admire, but the fact is that Senator Richard has been anti-labor and anti-lawyer the entire time he has been in the legislature, which is going on 15 years. He has also taken checks from Mr. Humphreys who has held the same views the last 15 years.
If your looking for corruption look for people who switch sides of issues around the time of a donation, not those who have decade long records of consistency. On that you might find a few legislators whose position switched rather quickly the same year they received large contributions, Senator Richard would not be one of them.
I simply disagree on a few things with Mr. Humphreys, but I don’t hate the man, I don’t think he is a crook, and I don’t question his motives. I just disagree with a couple of his ideas…that is enough, but not enough to mean I should call him corrupt.
Speaking of ideas, the draft report of the Governor’s Tax Commission was probably one of the best government documents that I’ve ever read. Reasonable people can passionately debate the ideas discussed and recommendations provided, but even those who oppose them have to admit it was a serious look at the state’s economic future.
However, being true to the dumpster fire ethos of the committee they scrapped 70 percent of the draft before they present the final report, removing the very very thin veil revealing what this committee was designed to do from day one, settle old scores and attack Missouri’s economic development programs effecting a major power grab by the executive branch.
The bizarre part was some schemed to try and deny the draft came from the administration. Changing the logo and such shenanigans are beneath the members of the committee. Oh and trust me your gonna fall out of your chair laughing at the ridiculous asterisk gimmick they are concocting to distance themselves from the disaster.
However, to be fair people shouldn’t let the comical end to the huge waste of time and taxpayer money undercut their taking the draft report seriously. One member of the commission told me it was a shame that the man who wrote the draft was taking all the heat. After all it was only the author that he took the committee’s charge seriously and developed a serious broad-based document to spur discussion.
The member of the commission credited the author saying that “he was the only one who took it seriously and was the only one of us dealing from the top of the deck. The rest of us knew this was a couple people’s scheme to settle grudges and that’s why most of us never showed up.”
Like your ol’ hillbilly pal told you from the start, this thing was a sham from day on, everything about it at every turn has shown that to be 100% correct. However, look for the 70% of the report they have scrapped to be discussed and debated for years to come when tax policy is on the agenda.
Congrats to Governor Holden on his NAACP lifetime achievement award, there is no finer statesman Missouri has than him.
Also, a big shout out goes to Democratic rising stars John Gaskin and Jimmy Loomis for their work on an outstanding event.
Lastly, you can save your emails. I had no problem interviewing Ms. Kogut with Planned Parenthood this week. I don’t like to snow our audience, I’m a person who is pro-life, but if you only want to hear from people who reinforce your own beliefs then you’ll just have to watch something besides This Week in Missouri Politics.
I found her interview to be engaging and made me think about why I believe what I do. I don’t view This Week in Missouri Politics as a platform to only parrot the views on any one group, but a place to discuss real issues being discussed in Missouri politics, and whether you think it’s a good thing or a bad thing the abortion issue is the issue of the day in our state.
I think if you ask around there is likely no non-partisan media outlet who treats pro-life groups and pro-life politicians with more respect and provides them a more consistent forum than the ones I happen to own.
Again it’s like with Mr. Humphreys you can disagree with someone’s ideas without questioning their motives or personally hating them.
Scott Faughn is the publisher of The Missouri Times, owner of the Clayton Times in Clayton, Mo; SEMO Times in Poplar Bluff, Mo.; and host of the only statewide political television show, This Week in Missouri Politics.