Put Residents First. End Special Interests.

 

Statement from John A. Rava on Special Interest spending:

A number of people have requested that I substantiate my statement of October 29 that Ward 1 candidate for City Council, Steve McMahon’s “primary funders have been out of town PACs and the union representing a number of City employees.”

Public records filed with the Missouri Ethics Commission and the St. Louis County Board of Elections Commission show this to be true. As requested, I am putting “the facts on the record.”

In McMahon’s 2014 write-in campaign for Mayor, more than half (51%) of the money spent on behalf of the campaign came from PACs outside of U City.

McMahon’s campaign committee reported spending a total of $4,278. Of this, $1,000 came from “Citizens for Good Government,” a Political Action Committee (PAC) based in Florissant and formed by several out of town firefighters unions and several U City landlords.

In addition, a separate PAC called the “Professional Firefighters of Central St. Louis County PAC,” primarily funded by the University City Professional Firefighters Fund, and with the same treasurer and the same Florissant address, reported that it had spent a total of $2,424 in “direct expenditures” on behalf of McMahon’s campaign.

Thus, two separate out of town firefighter PACs spent a total of $3,424 on behalf of the McMahon campaign. That amounts to 51% of the aggregate $6,702 spent on behalf of that campaign (the total of (a) the Campaign’s reported $4,278 plus (b) the $2,424 of the PACs’ “direct expenditures”).
That certainly backs up the claim that “out of town PACs and the union representing a number of City employees” were McMahon’s primary funders.

Most of this PAC money was not disclosed in McMahon’s committee reports, because they were labeled “direct expenditures” from the PAC instead of direct contributions to McMahon’s campaign. This was made possible by a “loophole” in Missouri’s porous campaign finance law. These hidden outside PAC expenditures were only discovered well after the election by extensive research on both the Missouri Ethics Commission website and the files of the St. Louis County Board of Election Commissioners.

McMahon has stated that his 2016 campaign will not be supported by donations or direct expenditures from those or similar outside PACs, and that there will be full transparency for all such donations and expenditures. So much the better for U City.

This discussion is not an attack on U City employees or their union. It is an effort to shine the light of full disclosure of the amount and the sources of money spent on U City elections. I do, however, object to PAC money from outside U City and money from a union of City employees wielding influence in our local elections.

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Here are links to the actual campaign finance reports listing the expenditures and contributions summarized above.

McMahon 2014 campaign finance report: https://drive.google.com/…/0Bx9ybWvY6FnIcElmeGJsdjBpR…/view…

Citizens for Good Government PAC campaign finance report (PAC funding on page 3, contribution to McMahon on page 4):
http://www.mec.mo.gov/CampaignFinanceReports/Generator.aspx…

Professional Firefighters of Central St. Louis County PAC campaign finance reports (pages 10 & 11 and page 6, respectively):
http://www.mec.mo.gov/CampaignFinanceReports/Generator.aspx…

http://www.mec.mo.gov/CampaignFinanceReports/Generator.aspx…


Did you know? In the 2014 U City election, Special Interest groups outspent U City residents 3 to 1.

Groups based in Florissant and Springfield spent $46,626 in 2014 to back a slate of four candidates, including my opponent Steve McMahon.  In these four campaigns, they outspent U City residents 3 to 1.

Special Interest Group money is not transparent. They pay for attack ads and direct expenditures that don’t show up in their candidates’ campaign reports. And they don’t have to disclose their spending until after the election. Most U City residents still don’t know this much money was spent by non-U City Political Action Committees (PACs) in our local election, for unpaid positions.

Where did the money come from?

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These PACs represent firefighters employees Unions and a pair of U City landlords. The reports of the two PACs that backed my opponent Steve McMahon’s last campaign are included below. The other reports can be found by searching the Missouri Ethics Commission website.

Where did the money go?

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The Special Interest Group money went toward (1) donations to their candidates’ campaigns (2) direct expenditures, paying for professional designers and mailers on behalf of their candidates (3) attack ads against the opponents of their candidates.

This money was not disclosed until after the election. Even then, it took many hours of research to find out which PACs had spent on behalf of which candidates and assemble a full picture of who funded these four campaigns.

The reports show that the bulk of this money is coming from firefighters Unions. Our city government has had a combative, unproductive relationship with the Local Union: spending this amount of money to buy control of U City government is not negotiation. Neither was the city’s response: suspending our loyal U City firefighters over disputes with the Union Management.

Building a constructive, balanced partnership between the Union and the City needs to be a top priority for our government moving forward.

Sources

Professional Firefighters of Central St Louis County PAC:

Citizens for Good Government PAC: Missouri Ethics Commission report

  • Page 4: Campaign Contributions
  • Note: University Terrace Associates is a company of landlord Dan Wald. University Square Company and Stone & Alter Real Estate are both companies of landlord Steve Stone.

Steve McMahon: Missouri Ethics Commission report

Dennis Fuller: Missouri Ethics Commission report

Jeff Hales: Missouri Ethics Commission report

Bwayne Smotherson: Missouri Ethics Commission report