campaign finance

A Mega Donor’s Influence in Missouri Politics

Apr 29, 2015

$34,648,778.27. That may sound like the contract your favorite professional sports player just signed with his new team. But that’s actually the amount of money one man donated to Missouri politicians and political groups from 2008-2014.

Rex Sinquefield is a retired businessman from St. Louis. He made his name and his wealth forming Dimensional Fund Advisors in 1981 where he worked until he retired in 2005. Since then, he has become one of the most, if not the most, influential political and philanthropic donor in Missouri.

Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster has maintained a large financial lead in his 2016 quest for governor, despite new self-imposed rules that prompted him to return $45,000 in donations.

Koster, a Democrat, reported over $3.2 million in the bank in his latest campaign filings, due Wednesday.

Here's a question for you last-minute tax filers. See that little checkoff box at the top of the 1040 tax form, the one labeled "Presidential Election Campaign"? You didn't check it, did you?

If not, then you're just like pretty much everybody else.

This is Part One in an occasional series of features on campaign finance, called "Money Rules."

The hunt for big bucks is changing the way politicians run for president.

When a candidate finally admits he or she is a candidate, donors are limited to gifts of $2,700. (A donor can give an additional $2,700 if the candidate makes it through to the general election.)

Wealthy political activist Rex Sinquefield has donated $1 million for Bev Randles to explore running for Missouri lieutenant governor.

Kristofor Husted / KBIA

A former campaign committee for Missouri House Democrats has agreed to pay a $10,000 fine for campaign finance violations.

The consent order released Monday by the Missouri Ethics Commission says the Democratic group failed to include some expenditures and contributions that it had made on its 2012 finance reports. It also failed to list a deputy treasurer.

The Missouri House Democratic Campaign Committee shut down in July 2013. It was succeeded by the House Democratic Victory Committee, which also no longer exists.

The group backing the proposed transportation sales tax is the biggest money-raising operation in the state – but it has yet to air a single TV ad.

Missourians for Safe Transportation and New Jobs, the campaign committee for the sales tax known as Amendment 7, appears to be entering the final weeks of the campaign with more than $2.5 million to spend.

A fundraising quarter before an election is when Missouri politics starts getting real. 

And by “getting real,” I mean getting "real expensive.”

Missouri Capitol
Ryan Famuliner / KBIA

A small handful of donors account for the bulk of money raised for statewide candidates and ballot measures in Missouri.

jay nixon
File Photo / KBIA

Missouri Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon brought legislators from both parties to a meeting with Kansas City reporters with a renewed call for curbing campaign contributions and ethics reform. 

vote here sign
KBIA file photo

While statewide elections are still three years away, with the exception of auditor whose term ends in 2014, many candidates have already announced their intention to run.

steve webb
Missouri House of Representatives

A three-term state lawmaker has resigned from the Missouri House amid charges of stealing and campaign finance violations.

Mo. candidates to file campaign finance reports

Oct 15, 2013
missouri auditor tom schweich
State of Missouri

Candidates are facing a deadline to file reports with the Missouri Ethics Commission detailing fundraising during the past three months.

Candidates will see if self-funding gets results

Nov 6, 2012
Dave Spence
File Photo / KBIA

As the 2012 election cycle ends candidates who donated large sums of their own money to their campaigns are waiting to see if those investments will pay off.

selbstfotografiert / Wikimedia Common

Why is so much money spent on campaign advertising?  Why can’t it be restricted?  Why can’t the U.S. have elections like Britain or Canada, where campaigns last about five weeks?

Tonight when you say to your TV: “If I see one more negative ad I’ll scream” and then you see two more before the words have left your mouth, think of the acronym: