When a national organization, the Republican State Leadership Committee (RSLC), pumped a six-figure sum in a lower-court election to defeat an incumbent judge, it captured national news media attention (see Gavel Grab). Now a local newspaper is following the money trail.
According to the Jefferson City (Mo.) News Tribune, “Missouri billionaire Rex Sinquefield gave $300,000 to the Republican State Leadership Committee in October, an RSLC filing with the federal Internal Revenue Service shows.” The RSLC gave more than $304,000 to its Missouri political action committee, which spent $10,000 in support of a local legislative candidate and “most of the rest” in support of Brian Stumpe, a Republican who unsuccessfully challenged Cole County Circuit Judge Pat Joyce, a Democrat.
The News Tribune reports, “Sinquefield’s $300,000 donation would appear to be a direct contribution to the RSLC, for its expenses in Missouri. But his donation was just under 55 percent of the total $548,349 the RSLC received from Missourians during the Oct. 1-Nov. 24 reporting period.”
The newspaper says Sinquefield had backed petitions to adopt a higher Missouri sales tax in place of the state’s income tax, and Judge Joyce made a ruling on the proposed ballot language and titles. Her mid-April 2012 ruling “effectively killed” attempts to land the proposal on the general elections ballot in 2012, the article says.
Cole County is the seat of the state capital. The local court’s jurisdiction includes challenges to the constitutionality of state laws and the language of ballot measures.