missouri politics

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.

For different reasons, both Missouri Republicans and Democrats have found themselves engaged in some introspection -- even soul-searching -- as they struggle to assess and reconsider their words, actions and policies in the face of some direct challenges from within.

missouri capitol
Kristofor Husted / KBIA

Missouri lawmakers and state elected officials likely will be getting a pay raise.

Legislative efforts to prevent the raise stalled Wednesday after a filibuster by some state Senate Democrats, who say the current $35,915 a year isn't enough considering the amount of work by lawmakers.

KBIA's Intersection

It’s been nearly 150 years since the close of the US Civil War, but the effects, and some of the arguments, continue to be felt today. Two years ago, a petition allowing Texas to secede from the US received over 100,000 online signatures, and prompted a response from the White House. Here in Missouri, lawmakers last year pushed a bill to nullify all federal gun control laws in the state. It ultimately failed, but that hasn’t stopped legislators from introducing similar legislation in this session.

Yiqian Zhang / KBIA

Missourians are more likely to volunteer and to do favors for a neighbor than the average American. But their level of civic engagement depends greatly on their circumstances.

A new report on the state’s civic health, issued by six Missouri universities and the National Conference on Citizenship, found that Missouri largely aligns with the rest of the nation on community involvement.

The report measured political activity, but also whether residents volunteered, helped their neighbors, or attended public meetings. 

Updated 8-21-13 4:01 p.m.

In St. Louis Wednesday, Gov. Jay Nixon sharply criticized a bill he vetoed that would allow juvenile sexual offenders to be removed from the sex offender registry. The Democratic Governor said overriding his veto would undermine public safety and weaken victims' rights.

He stood next to a gallery of mugshots and distributed information on several individuals who could be removed from the website if the bill passes.

A state-run nonprofit corporation needs to improve its transparency, according to an audit released Thursday.


Civil engineers say Missouri's infrastructure gets only a C-minus.

The regional chapters of the American Society of Civil Engineers released the letter grade Wednesday. It is part of a report card that evaluated the state's aviation, bridges, dams, drinking water, energy, inland waterways, levees, railroads, roads, schools and wastewater. Each sub-category also received a grade.

File / KBIA

Legislation awaiting action by Gov. Jay Nixon seeks to comply with federal mandates for Missouri's unemployment benefits system.

The measure also could make it more difficult for workers to receive jobless benefits if they are let go after an unapproved absence or if they knowingly violate a company rule.

Drab Mayko / FLICKR

This week we decided to look further into the state statutes that determine what personal information is public and shareable, and what information isn’t. 

In the ongoing saga over the state providing federal investigators with a list of 163,000 concealed carry permit holders in the state, the fallout continues. Republican Senator Kurt Schaefer of Columbia says Missouri’s Division of Motor Vehicles will remain unfunded in proposals for next year’s state budget unless the Nixon Administration cooperates with his committee’s investigation into the matter. The Director of the Department of Revenue resigned just over a week ago amid the controversy over the closed records.

Legislation in the Missouri House would permanently adopt Daylight Saving Time as the new Standard Time, but only if 20 other states also agree to do so.

House Bill 340 would create a pact with other states to “eliminate” Daylight Saving Time by renaming it the new “Standard Time.”  And once 20 or more states join the pact, they’ll spring forward one hour and permanently remain there.  It’s sponsored by State Representative Delus Johnson (R, St. Joseph).

david_shane / flickr

Missouri legislators are cutting their work week short because of concerns about a winter storm.

The House and Senate usually meet from Monday until mid-day Thursday each week. But the National Weather Service has issued a winter storm watch from late Wednesday through Thursday for most of Missouri. The forecast calls for a mixture of ice and snow, depending on the location.

Jay Nixon
File Photo / KBIA

This week on the show: the Medicaid expansion debate continues. Plus: what Mid-Missourians are concerned about as the President prepares for his State of the Union address.

Andrew Yost / KBIA

President Obama will speak to the nation with the annual State of the Union address Tuesday night. Columbia citizens voiced their expectations for the address, commenting on Obama’s previous term and what expectations they had for the next four years. Some were hopeful, while others were more disgruntled.

Missouri House of Representatives

Missouri Republicans have chosen a young state lawmaker promising a "fresh approach" as their candidate to replace former Congresswoman Jo Ann Emerson.

Ryan Famuliner / KBIA

Democratic Missouri Governor Jay Nixon delivered his state of the state speech Monday night;  to a legislature that this year again has enough Republican members that if they all vote together, they won’t even need his signature to alter the state’s laws.

Islespunkfan / Flickr

At the first major league baseball game I ever saw, as a Cub Scout in old Sportsmans Park in north St. Louis, Stan Musial got his 2500th hit, a home run.  I became a Cardinals fan and a Stan Musial fan that day.

missouri capitol
Ryan Famuliner / KBIA

Missouri lawmakers are kicking off the state's annual budgeting process this week. The Senate Appropriations Committee will take public testimony on education and health care issues at a hearing Tuesday.

nigeljohnwade / flickr

A Republican lawmaker from rural Missouri is calling for a sales tax on violent video games in response to a deadly Connecticut school shooting.

Jay Nixon (D) has been sworn in for his second and final four-year term as Missouri Governor.

US Capitol

Averting big, abrupt tax increases and spending cuts isn’t the only issue pressing in Washington this week.

The U.S. Senate may soon move to fundamentally change the way it does business, and Missouri’s two senators are on opposing sides of that debate.

selbstfotografiert / Wikimedia Common

Wealthy Republican donors are starting Christmas early. Somewhat uncharacteristically, GOP donor David Humphreys donated $25,000 to Democratic Governor Jay Nixon on Friday. Humphreys is the head of a Joplin based roofing company and usually donates exclusively to Republicans – in fact, he donated about $1.5 million to conservatives and conservative organizations just this year.

Claire McCaskill
File Photo / KBIA

Congress has given final approval to new oversight requirements for wartime contracting that had been sought by Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill.

Missouri State Treasurer's office

Former Republican congressman Wendell Bailey has joined a crowded field of candidates hoping to fill a vacancy in southeast Missouri's 8th Congressional District.

United States Congress

Missouri congresswoman Jo Ann Emerson may end up resigning her U.S. House seat earlier than originally planned.

Jay Nixon
File Photo / KBIA

Governor Jay Nixon spent $15.5 million on his re-election campaign and still has hundreds of thousands of dollars left over.

This week on the show: Republicans don’t fare well in statewide races despite a strong win for Mitt Romney in the state. Plus, how many people actually voted. Are we counting them right?

Missouri House of Representatives

Former Missouri House Speaker Steven Tilley is now a registered lobbyist in Jefferson City.

KBIA file photo

Late personal property tax payments have emerged in another Missouri political campaign.