Thursday, January 12, 2012

Tea Partier Suggests Possible Foul Play In Wagner Campaign, But I'm Skeptical

Darin at Reboot Congress had some interesting observations earlier about Ann Wagner and Enterprise, where Wagner's husband is the Vice President of Government and Public Affairs:
Late last September, Missouri State Representative Sue Allen held a trivia night fundraiser. Sue's a solid conservative who's district has significantly changed in Missouri's recent redistricting. She needs to raise funds to increase her name recognition because of those new boundries--find out more about Sue Allen and donate to her campaign. To encourage donors to purchase tables at her September trivia night, any donor who bought a table would be allowed to read the trivia questions for one round.

On September 14th, Enterprise Holdings Inc. PAC donated $1,000 to Missouri State Rep Sue Allen. That's documented on page ten of Sue Allen's October Missouri Ethics Commission disclosure report embedded below. No one with the name "Wagner" is mentioned in that disclosure report.

As you can see in the picture below, Ann Wagner's reading questions at Sue Allen's trivia night. Reports from attendees at that fundraiser indicate that she read questions for four rounds. Is this the strategic vision of Ray Wagner: to buy a speaking platform in front of a room full of donors for his wife, a candidate for Congress, and finance that platform with Enterprise PAC money? I don't know if that rises to the level of using Enterprise stationary for Ann Wagner campaign solicitations, but it is an advantage other candidates around the country do not enjoy.
This set of facts potentially implies a serious problem. If Allen told people that they could read questions if they donated enough money to buy a table, and Ann Wagner read questions based on a $1,000 donation from the Enterprise PAC without reporting it as an in-kind donation from Enterprise, then it would seem that she might have run afoul of elections laws. However, that's based on the second hand information that this was how the event was set up, and I found some online evidence that seems to tell a different story.

The Young Republicans of St. Louis have a link to a google doc flier for the event. If you look at the flier, it lists Wagner as a "special guest" along with other Republicans like Tilley, Jones, Nieves, etc. Furthermore, it only mentions the cost of buying a table;there's no mention of being able to spend money to read questions. So without evidence that Wagner was allowed to read questions because of the donated money rather than because she was a special guest, it would be hard to produce any evidence of law-breaking. However, it certainly does reinforce the tea party bloggers suggestion that Wagner is a little too cozy with Enterprise to be viewed as an independent candidate.

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