“For nothing is hidden, except to be revealed; nor has anything been secret, but that it would come to light. If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear.”
Today I received in the mail campaign literature from an outfit known as Missourians for Conservative Values PAC. Here is a shot of one page:
I wondered who this group was and, more important, where it got its dough to finance such a slick and nasty ad. I found it also had a video out:
Now that’s pretty rough stuff and you all know I don’t care at all about Peter Kinder’s political career, except to see it end as soon as possible at the hands of a Democrat. But this ad was not, obviously, financed by any Democratic group. The point here is that whoever is behind the ad ought to have a face.
So, who is behind the financing? Beats me and good luck finding out in this state. From the St. Louis Post Dispatch:
Editorial: Trail of dirty money continues to pull Missouri into the mud
This is what democracy looks like in Missouri:
Last Friday, Denise Young of High Ridge formed a nonprofit corporation, Better Government for Missouri.
Later that day, Better Government for Missouri gave $100,000 to Missourians for Conservative Values, a St. Joseph-based political action committee.
On Tuesday, Missourians for Conservative Values posted a political video on YouTube recounting Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder’s dalliances with a former East St. Louis stripper. It’s the sort of negative and nasty ad that builds on the arguments made by state Sen. Brad Lager of Savannah, Mr. Kinder’s opponent in the Republican primary for lieutenant governor.
Mr. Lager’s campaign, of course, said it had nothing — nothing — to do with the ad. Politics ain’t beanbag, as they say, but politicians generally want plausible deniability when their friends and allies throw mud on their behalf.
Here’s the rub: There is no way of knowing who spent the $100,000 to slime Mr. Kinder.
The “sleaziness,” as the Post points out,
is not a result of the Supreme Court’s disastrous Citizens United ruling. It’s purely a Missouri problem.
In 2005, when Missouri politicians, Republicans and Democrats, started pushing to get rid of campaign donation limits in the Show-Me State, their main argument was that it would bring transparency to campaign finance in the state.
If donors could give whatever they wanted, the logic went, there would be no incentive to launder money through multiple committees, as long had been the practice. The flaw in the argument was clear: There would be no transparency if lawmakers didn’t also pass measures to ban committee-to-committee transfers, like the example above.
Now we have limited transparency and unlimited money. It’s a dangerous combination.
The editorial notes that failure at the federal level to enforce rules that were designed to limit groups like Better Government for America from “active involvement in electoral politics” is also partly to blame for the problem. Such negligence allows “dirty tricksters” to pretty much “operate in the dark” here in Missouri.
It turns out that in addition to the initial $100,000 which went to the sliming of Peter Kinder, there was more, according to Randy Turner:
Five days after Better Government for Missouri was formed, it gave another $200,000 to Missourians for Conservative Values for a direct mailing against Kinder, according to the eight-days-before-election report filed with the Ethics Commission.
Prior to the formation of Better Government for Missouri, the St. Joseph PAC only had $5,140.01 in the bank. After spending the $300,000 and an additional $115 for expenses, the PAC is left with $5,025.01, according to the report.
Where’s the money coming from? Who is behind it? Apparently, here in Missouri the public’s right to know is strictly limited to those who need to know, which doesn’t include you and me.
Not only is all this an affront to Missouri democracy, such secrecy, which is also going on at the national level, undermines our cultural confidence in the realization of Lincoln’s majestic prayer for our form of government:
that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.
What a shame that should American democracy perish, it just might be at the hands of wealthy Americans who can do their nastiness in a very creepy—and legal— darkness.