EXCLUSIVE — Businessman Rex Sinquefield has cut a check for $184,900 to the 417 PAC supporting GOP Rep. Curtis Trent as he campaigns for floor leader.
“Rex loves Missouri and wants to see our state prosper,” Travis H. Brown, a longtime advisor to Sinquefield stated. “The way to promote economic growth isn’t a mystery. It requires a good tax code, a reasonable regulatory environment, infrastructure, an educated workforce, and a fair judicial system.”
Trent is locked in a battle for floor leader with Reps. Dean Plocher and J. Eggleston. Plocher manages his own law firm and is a former prosecuting attorney.
The donation amount was not selected randomly. Brown revealed the support Trent is receiving is tied to tort reform issues, and he saw it as leveling the playing field against a well-funded special interest group that has used its influence to thwart tort reform for years.
Sinquefield’s camp said they looked to the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s “Money Trail” tracker which has calculated Plocher has received more than $86,000 from trial attorneys as of October 15. On the other hand, Trent has raised just $500 from trial attorneys.
The data showed Plocher has received the most money from trial attorneys compared with other House members. And he’s No. 15 overall, including among the governor and other statewide officials.
“I am grateful to Rex and Jeanne Sinquefield for their strong support of my candidacy for House Majority Leader. This donation shows the critical importance the business community places on this race and tort reform,” Trent said. “As I travel the state, I hear repeatedly from my colleagues that fixing our state’s legal climate is often their top priority.”
“I raise money for entities that help further the Republican Party and build the majority in the House,” he continued. “My goal is to make sure Republicans have the resources needed to keep fighting for conservative values, expanded economic opportunity, and the liberty of all Missourians.”
Daniel Mehan, the Chamber’s president, said Missouri is No. 6 when it comes to suing employers — “and trial attorneys are willing to invest big to protect that cash flow.”
“Many of these trial attorneys have spent more on political campaigns than average working Missourians spend on a home – just to increase litigation in the state of Missouri,” Mehan said in a statement. “Yet, it’s the average working Missourian who pays the price of excessive litigation through lost access to quality health care, lost economic opportunities, and increased costs of goods and services.”
Plocher declined to comment for the story. But a House source who is supporting Plocher said he has “voted with and supported the caucus 99 percent of the time.”
“He has voted for tax cuts, regulatory and labor reform, and local control of our schools and government. As a member, he is one of the largest and most consistent donors to HRCC and fellow Republican candidates for the House,” the source said. “Dean donated over $100,000 to Republicans raised from doctors, manufacturers, small business owners, and yes, attorneys — including former law school classmates, friends, and conservative Republican stalwarts. For his opponent to attack him for raising money that was used to benefit Republican House candidates and HRCC is unfortunate.”
Brown also acknowledged Trent’s strong support of tort reform was not the sole factor in the decision to back him.
“This is not a campaign to run for office; this is a campaign to represent the caucus,” Brown said. “The House Republican Caucus will have the strength and leadership they need from the resources Curtis Trent raised today.”
Kaitlyn Schallhorn is the editor of The Missouri Times. She joined the newspaper in early 2019 after working as a reporter for Fox News in New York City.
Throughout her career, Kaitlyn has covered political campaigns across the U.S., including the 2016 presidential election, and humanitarian aid efforts in Africa and the Middle East.
She is a native of Missouri who studied journalism at Winthrop University in South Carolina. She is also an alumna of the National Journalism Center in Washington, D.C.
Contact Kaitlyn at firstname.lastname@example.org.