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Why a tax return might matter

  

I’ve always been a believer that people running for office were not resigned to having a to give out any more information than they choose to, and no one is obligated to voting for anyone either.

If Donald Trump doesn’t want to give out his tax returns, then it’s his right not to, but if you feel that you need to see someone’s tax returns in order to know enough about a candidate to vote for them, then it’s your right.

Which brings us to why Attorney General Chris Koster may have baited his opponent Eric Greitens into a trap with a dual strategy of attacking the charity he worked for while getting him to commit to releasing his tax returns.

Kurt Erickson in the Post-Dispatch very expertly provided the timeline of Koster waiting for Greitens to commit to release his returns before releasing his here.

Koster’s attacks on The Mission Continues, a charity Greitens founded – and has made a great deal of money from – helping veterans return from combat, have been more effective than most initially, despite Greitens spending weeks running ads refuting them. I have interviewed a veteran who is one of the most sincere men I’ve ever met who credits the charity for turning his life around.

After laying the groundwork with the attacks on Greitens’ charity, then getting him to commit to releasing his tax returns, Koster has set up an intriguing drama in an already captivating campaign.

Did Greitens take a six-figure salary from a charity while raking in big dollars as a motivational speaker giving speeches about his charitable work?

Greitens says he left the charity in 2014, and is now a small businessman. According to the Secretary of State’s website, the only business in Missouri he is over has a website that promotes his books and motivational speaking. If Greitens was taking a big salary from the charity while making a huge income from public speaking, it will be a turning point in the campaign.

Speaking of the campaign, last week’s polling showed Koster up 16%. While even I think that’s aggressive, it’s always been my view that the campaign losing wants more debates while the leading camp wants fewer.

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The Missouri political world took a break from the #MOGOV race when incoming legislator Cora Walker accused fellow incoming representative Steve Roberts of rape. Many people in and around Missouri politics were quick to applaud Walker for coming forward. While Roberts has categorically denied the allegation, a police investigation is currently under way.

This is a tragedy. Both are people who have immense talent with the skills to benefit not only St. Louis but the entire state. Hopefully investigators can work quickly to bring the situation to a head.

I’ve always been leery of those who look for political gain in a tragedy, and some in the media and Twittersphere were quick to take the cheap shot of trying to use this event to smear state legislators, and the capitol as a rape culture.

Reasonable people can differ on their opinions as to how legislative leaders should treat Roberts during the investigation, but its seems cheap and petty to attempt to use this tragedy to smear the state capitol.

I’m just a simple hillbilly, but how can an event that happened between two people who have never lived in Jefferson City, have never worked in Jefferson City, and happened 130 miles from Jefferson City be telling about Jefferson City?

Speaking of leadership in St. Louis. The new crop of legislators from the state’s largest metropolitan area are impressive, but there is no doubt that St. Louis will lose clout in the legislature compared to last session which began with St. Louis being represented by House Speaker John Diehl, Senate President Pro Tem Tom Dempsey, and Economic Development chairman Senator Eric Schmitt. From what I’ve seen keep an eye out for Senator Bill Eigel from St. Charles County as one to watch as an ambassador of the St. Louis business community.


Final notes:

  • It was interesting seeing the veteran in the Greitens ad who was criticized as the father of a prominent democrat. By the way isn’t it a little much to be criticizing the Facebook pages of people who appear in ads?
  • Big deal for Greitens to get Missouri conservative Ryan Johnson to endorse him. It could be a sign that some of the conservatives who are skeptical of him, or feel they could live with Koster are coming home to the republican nominee.
  • Is there anything more pathetic than people who drop anonymous attack letters?
  • The PSC staff could be charting the course for the commission for the next several years with their handling of the KCP&L acquisition. Will they be seen as fair guardians of ratepayers or be job-killing regulators who take Kansas City from having a
  • Fortune 500 company to having KCP&L bought out by an out-of-state firm?

Scott Faughn is the publisher of The Missouri Times and host of This Week in Missouri Politics which can be seen on CBS 5 in Jefferson City, and ABC 30 in St. Louis as well as a frequent guest on KMOX in St. Louis and KCMO in Kansas City.