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Greitens’ dark money nonprofit funnels $250,000 into effort to thwart ‘RTW’ repeal

August 7, 2017 by admin in Labor News From Our Region with 0 Comments

ADVANCING HIS AGENDA: Political Coward Gov. Eric Greitens’ dark money non-profit recently donated $250,000 to a committee working to derail efforts to let voters decide whether “right-to-work” should become law.

Missouri political committees, nonprofits returning to old tricks

By SHERI GASSAWAY

Correspondent

Missouri Governor Eric Greitens’ dark money nonprofit has donated $250,000 to a political action committee working to protect Missouri’s so-called “right-to-work” law.

Greitens campaigned on a promise to enact the anti-worker “right-to-work” in Missouri and it was the first order of business in this year’s legislative session. The legislature approved the bill, and Greitens signed it into law on Feb. 6 – the same day the Missouri AFL-CIO and the Missouri NAACP filed a petition seeking the referral of the legislation to Missouri voters.

Shortly afterward, Greitens’ political team founded A New Missouri Inc., a dark money nonprofit designed to help push the governor’s conservative anti-worker agenda for Missouri. The No. 1 bullet point on the organization’s generic website landing page? Labor reform.

Last month, Greitens’ nonprofit donated $250,000 to a campaign committee called Missourians for Worker Freedom. That campaign committee along with a related political action committee, Liberty Alliance, is working to stop efforts to let voters decide whether “right-to-work” should become law.

Where did the $250,000 come from? In all likelihood, we’ll never know. Politically active nonprofits, like A New Missouri aren’t required to disclose their donors, which makes tracking campaign financing increasingly difficult.

What is known is that Greitens and the two recently founded committees are connected. Here is the what the Labor Tribune learned about the two committees based on online research of the committees’ websites, social media pages and the Missouri Ethics Commission:

MISSOURIANS FOR WORKER FREEDOM

This Kansas City, MO, campaign committee was established Dec. 23, 2016. It specifically opposes efforts to repeal “right-to-work. The committee’s website states it is not associated with any candidate or candidate committee.

Donations over $5,000, as reported to the Missouri Ethics Commission:

• $250,000 (July 17) – A New Missouri (Greitens’ own dark money nonprofit).   

LIBERTY ALLIANCE

This Kansas City, MO, political action committee was established on Feb. 15. The committee has the same address and phone number as Missourians for Worker Freedom and also opposes efforts to repeal “right-to-work.”

According to the Liberty Alliance website, the committee is not associated with any political party, committee, candidate or state office holder. However, the Kansas City Star recently reported that Greitens’ campaign finance director, Meredith Gibbons, is helping raise money for committee.

Donations over $5,000, as reported to the Missouri Ethics Commission:

• $10,000 (May 16) – Rudy Farber, Community Bank & Trust chairman, Neosho, MO

• $20,000 (July 17) – Rudy Farber, Community Bank & Trust chairman, Neosho, MO

• $100,000 (July 26) – Richard Uihlein, ULINE executive, Lake Forest, IL

• $10,000 (July 26) – Missouri Chamber of Commerce

TWO MORE ‘NONPROFITS,’ RELATED PACS

Two other so-called “nonprofits,” the Missouri Alliance for Freedom and the American Democracy Alliance, appear poised to become more active and both have ties to prominent GOP donor and St. Joseph businessman Stan Herzog, according to the Kansas City Star.

Former Missouri GOP executive director Kristen Blanchard Ansley told the newspaper she founded two political action committees in May, each of which are connected to one of the nonprofits: Missouri Alliance for Freedom Grace River PAC and American Democracy Alliance Ridgely PAC.

While a recent ruling by the Missouri Ethics Commission bans nonprofits from contributing to their connected PACs, Herzog’s contracting company donated $50,000 to the Grace River PAC and $100,000 to the Ridgely PAC.

Both committees have the same Kansas City, MO, address, but neither are dedicated to any specific cause, yet.

HERZOG’S TIES TO GREITENS’ NONPROFIT

Herzog also has ties to Greitens’ nonprofit, according to the Kansas City Star. Just before Greitens’ A New Missouri was founded, a company associated with Herzog bought the downtown Jefferson City building where the nonprofit is located.

WHY ALL THE SECRECY?

In 2008, lawmakers repealed a voter-imposed limit on campaign contributions. The move opened the floodgates for big donors attempting to influence candidates and causes, and its impact in Missouri was evident in the 2016 general election.

During that election, Missouri voters approved a measure putting campaign contributions back in place. The move capped donations to candidates at $2,600 per election and to political parties at $25,000.

To avoid the new limits, big donors are going back to the practices they used before the repeal took effect, which include creating multiple committees to promote their agenda aided by the use of nonprofits (which aren’t required to reveal their donors) to cover their tracks.

(Some information for this story from the Kansas City Star.)

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