New Reporters' Guide Documents Rex Sinquefield's Effort to Railroad Personal Agenda through Missouri State House

PRESS RELEASE: April 29, 2014

CONTACT: Brendan Fischer, brendan@prwatch.org

The Center for Media and Democracy and Progress Missouri today released a new report, "Reporters' Guide to Rex Sinquefield and the Show-Me Institute," that should be an eye-opener for Missouri residents and national press.

While a great deal of attention has been paid to the billionaire Koch Brothers and their network of dark money groups and right-wing think tanks, few have heard of Missouri multi-millionaire Rex Sinquefield.

"Sinquefield is one of the top right-wing political funders in the country, and the single top political spender in Missouri, where he has spent at least $31.5 million since 2006 seeking to reshape Missouri laws, legislators, and policies according to his own ideological mold," said co-author Brendan Fischer, General Counsel of the Center for Media and Democracy. "Plus, like the Kochs, he pursues his agenda through a diversity of avenues, including his pet think tank the Show-Me Institute and front groups and lobbying entities, in order to massage politicians, spin the press, and try to soften up public opinion toward his personal wish list for changing Missouri law."

Sinquefield has poured tens of millions into the show-me state to push for the repeal of the progressive income tax system, to thwart efforts to secure fair wages for hardworking Missourians, and to promote legislation that weakens Missouri’s public schools.

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"Despite the obscene sums of money Sinquefield spends on politicians, consultants and TV ads, Missourians continue to reject his ideas and vision," said Sean Nicholson, Executive Director of Progress Missouri. "Whether it's bizarre ideas about the KKK and public schools, or radical tax schemes, people not on Rex's payroll are having none of it."

Key findings from the report include:

  • Sinquefield has disclosed spending at least at least $31.5 million on state elections since 2006.
  • In 2013, Sinquefield spent at least $2.35 million over a one-week period unsuccessfully urging legislators to override Governor Jay Nixon’s veto of Sinquefield-backed tax cut legislation.
  • In 2012, Sinquefield gave $1 million to the “Now or Never” Super PAC, which spent just over $1 million supporting Todd Akin’s 2012 U.S. Senate run; 80% was donated and spent in the final days of the elections, well after Akin’s offensive and absurd comments about “legitimate rape” and pregnancy.
  • Sinquefield has also given hundreds of thousands to ALEC legislators in Missouri, who have used ALEC model bills to advance Sinquefield’s school privatization agenda. For example, Sinquefield gave $100,000 to the Speaker of the Missouri House, Tim Jones, for his 2012 campaign -- despite Jones running unopposed. Jones is a member of the ALEC Education Task Force and was previously the ALEC State Chair for Missouri.

Sinquefield and his groups have also directly bankrolled the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). Sinquefield’s Pelopidas lobbying group, for example, sponsored ALEC’s 2013 Annual Meeting to the tune of six figures.

ALEC is holding its Spring Task Force Summit at the Kansas City Marriott this week, May 1-2.

Access the full report here.

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