His choice of gubernatorial candidates reveals a pattern
By TIM ROWDEN
Joplin, MO – David Humphreys, the billionaire CEO of TAMKO Building Products, considers himself Missouri’s conservative king maker, but he doesn’t have a very good record buying first-tier political candidates.
You have to question the judgment of a purchaser who lavishes money on candidates willing to be seduced by unlimited campaign contributions (some public, some hidden) to fuel their unbridled ambitions, and is then shocked and offended when his easily purchased candidates turn out to have the morals and ethics of alley cats.
Humphreys is morally bankrupt when it comes to workers’ rights, but is surprisingly rigid when his bought-and-paid for politicians lose their luster.
YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR
Two of the more prominent cases of Humphreys getting what he paid for, only to find it wasn’t entirely what he wanted:
• Eric Greitens: A day after a recent bombshell legislative committee report detailed allegations of sexual misconduct and alleged blackmail by Gov. Greitens, Humphreys, who gave Greitens more than $2 million in 2016 – and tens of millions more to various anti-worker candidates in recent years – to secure passage of his long-sought anti-worker “right-to-work” legislation, called on Greitens to resign.
(So-called “right-to-work” will appear on the ballot in either August or November as Proposition A. Vote NO on Prop. A to defeat RTW.)
Humphreys stuck with Greitens back in January as details of the governor’s extramarital affair began to unfold. But three months later, as lawmakers from both parties joined a chorus calling for Greitens to resign, Humphreys saw his kingmaker reputation teetering on the brink and quickly withdrew his support.
• Peter Kinder: In 2011, Humphreys demanded Lt. Governor Peter Kinder, one of the state’s leading conservatives, return more than $100,000 in contributions he had given to him after it was revealed the unmarried Kinder had a relationship with a former stripper who had once appeared as a Penthouse Pet.
Humphreys moral indignation with Kinder faded during the 2016 Republican primary for governor when he saw a chance to put a RTW pawn in the governor’s mansion. The well-known Kinder supported RTW, and Humphreys and his sister, Sara Atkins, each donated $250,000 to his campaign. Humphreys eventually gave him a total of $750,000.
After Kinder lost the primary, Humphreys’ money train switched tracks, hitching to the winner, Greitens, who also gleefully supported RTW and quickly signed it as his first piece of legislation coming quickly out of the corporate-controlled legislature.
(RTW will be challenged on the ballot this fall as Proposition A. Vote NO on Prop. A to defeat RTW.)
Humphreys got the RTW law he paid for, and it looked like the Humphreys money train might carry Greitens all the way to his dream of running for U.S. president.
STEP OFF PLEASE
Instead, Humphreys is now telling Greitens to step off, even as the train keeps rolling for Missouri’s many other corporate-owned politicians. Should Greitens somehow survive this scandal and win his criminal trial next month, how long will it take before Humphreys invites him back onboard to regain control of his purchase?
Humphreys is a fickle conductor, but his outrage will almost certainly fade if he sees another opportunity coming down the track.