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Monday, January 30, 2012

Missouri Corruption-Rex Sinquefield's infrastructure of influence

We have written on the tactics being used on Kansas’ legislators who are being bought of by such groups as American Legislative Exchange Council or ALEC. This article doesn’t mention ALEC, but does name a lot of local groups which sound as if they want to do the same thing to Missouri that they are doing to Kansas. -សតិវ អតុ

Billionaire Rex Sinquefield wants to rewrite the Missouri Constitution, and he has the money to make that happen.
     For those who don't know, Rex Singuefield, co-founder and past co-chairman of Dimensional Fund Advisors Inc., is an economic conservative who has, in recent years, opened his checkbook to give tens of thousands of dollars to Missouri politicians. While most of his money goes to republicans, some democrats, such as St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay, also receive his generous contributions. A free market fundamentalist, Singuefield's  primary goal is to influence state and local tax and spending policies.
     If money is "speech" in American politics, then Singuefield has a lot to say. To that end he has funded his own think tank, the Show Me Institute, and a number of political action commitees, including United for Missouri and United for Missouri's Future.      Essentially, Singuefield has built an infrastructure of political influence. He has state legislators to introduce legislation for him and research "institutes" to provide studies purporting to prove that his proposals will be good for the economy.  If his idea can't get through the legislature, he can fund a petition drive to get it on the ballot as a referendum. The PACs can then be used to generate well funded "grass roots" support for the proposal and produce slick TV and radio ads to sell it. 

 Singuefield had his biggest success to date when he pushed through an amendment to the state constitution that requires St. Louis City and Kansas City to hold a vote on their respective earnings(income) taxes. Rex really hates income taxes. This year, he has two more constitutional amendments on his agenda: one would place strict limits on state spending and the other would replace Missouri's income tax with a higher state sales tax.
     If there was ever any doubt that money buys political influence, Rex Singuefield puts that to rest. He is Missouri's poster child for "the 1%".

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