Filing to be a presidential candidate on Missouri's primary ballot recently opened, and the fourth quarter of the year is drawing to a close. So as people look to fill their Christmas stockings, it's also a good time to take stock of the monetary gifts that have been given to candidates for elected offices in Missouri and how candidates have used what they've received.
It's too soon to say with certainty who will be running for statewide Missouri offices. Many candidates have already announced their intent to run and have been campaigning and collecting political contributions for months. But the filing period for candidates to appear on the Aug. 4, 2020, primary election ballot does not open until Feb. 25.
It also seems unlikely all of the candidates with active campaign committees will file to run for their desired offices, because of the limits of fundraising success, or political unlikelihood, in the case of former Gov. Eric Greitens.
However, all candidates whose campaign committees are active do have to submit reports to the Missouri Ethics Commission — or the Federal Election Commission in the case of congressional candidates — and that activity gives a fuller sense of how races are going and who has at least declared entry into races.
All the most recent financial information on candidates' campaign committees comes from the Missouri Ethics Commission and reflects third quarter campaign activity from July 1-Sept. 30.
According to the Missouri Ethics Commission, three Republicans, three Democrats, one Libertarian candidate and one independent candidate have active fundraising campaigns for the August primary in the Missouri governor's election.
One Republican, Greitens, had not collected any money in the third quarter. Greitens' campaign committee had just over $669,000 of money on hand. The campaign committee had received $340 in the first quarter and $1,053 in the second quarter.
Greitens resigned in June 2018 amid criminal and legislative investigations into his alleged actions. Whatever his future may be in Missouri politics, if any, his committee for governor is not financially inactive, having spent more than $50,000 in the third quarter — mostly on legal fees with attorneys in Jefferson City, St. Louis, Georgia and Washington, D.C., payroll fees and taxes, accounting fees, data services and compensating a campaign committee worker in Columbia.
By state law, campaign committees can use contributions to pay for legal fees in the defense of someone who's subject of a complaint when an investigation has arisen from that person holding or running for public office.
Former Rep. Jay Barnes, R-Jefferson City, who chaired the House's investigation by committee into Greitens, filed a complaint against Greitens with the Missouri Ethics Commission in July 2018. That complaint has not yet had an outcome.
Campaigns may also receive contributions for the purpose of paying legal and other costs involved with administering or maintaining a committee.
Greitens' campaign committee paying legal fees to attorneys since he left office is nothing new. The committee spent more than $200,000 in the fourth quarter of 2018, more than half of which was to the Jefferson City office of law firm Husch Blackwell LLP.
Incumbent Gov. Mike Parson — who succeeded Greitens after his resignation and has led the state since — had more then $1.2 million on hand in his campaign committee.
Parson's campaign committee spent almost $193,000, mostly on a public opinion survey, graphic design, print materials, other promotional materials, campaign media and event expenses.
Parson had received more than $1.9 million in total for the election, and had spent almost $570,000 in total.
The campaign of a third Republican, Rep. Jim Neely, of Cameron, had $18,770 on hand, and had spent $141.54 on letterhead. Neely's campaign committee had received almost $87,000 in total, and had spent almost $765 in total.
State Auditor and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Nicole Galloway's campaign had more than $540,000 on hand.
Galloway's campaign had spent almost $134,400, mostly on advertising, fundraising services, contribution processing fees and campaign management services.
Galloway had received almost $777,000 in total and had spent more than $264,000 in total.
Democrat Eric Morrison's campaign committee had $670.63 on hand and had spent $507.29, mostly on T-shirts and a campaign cellphone. Morrison is from Kansas City.
Morrison had received $1,342 in total and spent $637.37.
Democrat Edward Thurman's campaign committee was established Oct. 28, and no financial report was available. Thurman is from Valley Park.
The campaign committee of Libertarian candidate and Cole County resident Rik Combs was established Oct. 3, and no financial report was available from the Missouri Ethics Commission.
Independent candidate Casey Leslie had $76.17 on hand and had not spent any money since June 1. Leslie is from Lee's Summit and had not received or spent any money for the election; the $76.17 includes funds in depository, cash, savings accounts and any other investments.
Parson and Galloway also have political action committees supporting their candidacies, independent of their own campaign committees — candidates cannot form, control or direct PACs. Uniting Missouri PAC is a major PAC that supports Parson, and Keep Government Accountable supports Galloway.
Uniting Missouri had $4.3 million on hand and had spent just more than $126,500— mostly on consulting services and travel expenses for fundraising.
Keep Government Accountable had $532,453 on hand and had spent almost $5,985, mostly on credit card processing fees and tax form preparation.
Incumbent Lt. Gov. Mike Kehoe's campaign committee had about $334,730 on hand and had spent about $87,600, mostly on operation and strategic consulting, other professional services, printing and refunds of excess contributions.
Kehoe came into the lieutenant governor's office after Parson, who had been lieutenant governor, became governor after Greitens' resignation.
As far as could be immediately seen, Kehoe is unchallenged for election.
Two Democrats and incumbent Republican Eric Schmitt are vying for attorney general.
Schmitt's campaign committee had almost $560,000 on hand and had spent more than $45,560, mostly on fundraising and campaign consulting services.
Schmitt had received just over $696,000 in total for the election and had spent about $306,000 in total.
Democratic candidate Elad Gross, of St. Louis, had more than $26,170 on hand and had spent more than $27,000, largely spread in smaller amounts for things like gas, payroll taxes, campaign work, mail, email service and voter outreach through Facebook — with the exception of three larger payments of $2,500 each for campaign management services out of St. Louis.
Gross had received about $83,830 in total for the election and had spent more than $45,000 in total.
Democratic candidate Rich Finneran, of St. Louis, established a campaign committee Oct. 8, and no financial information was available.
Secretary of state
Incumbent Republican John R. "Jay" Ashcroft faces Democratic candidate Yinka Faleti, of St. Louis.
Ashcroft's campaign committee had almost $265,000 on hand and had spent about $10,100, mostly on fundraising.
Ashcroft had received about $335,100 in total and had spent more than $150,000 in total.
Faleti's campaign committee was established Oct. 1, and no financial information was available.
Incumbent Republican Scott Fitzpatrick faces Democratic candidate Vicki Englund, of St. Louis.
Fitzpatrick's campaign committee had more than $241,744 on hand and had spent just over $15,938, almost entirely on fundraising and consulting services.
Fitzpatrick had received more than $350,150 in total and had spent almost $105,000 in total.
Englund had more than $4,640 on hand and had spent more than $580, almost entirely on printing.
Englund had received $5,225 in total and had not previously spent any money; the campaign was formed in mid-September.
3rd Congressional District
Incumbent Republican Blaine Luetkemeyer faces Democrats Katy Geppert and Dennis Oglesby.
Luetkemeyer, of St. Elizabeth, had more than $840,000 in receipts, had spent more than $414,800 in total, and had about $2.69 million of cash on hand, as of Sept. 30, according to the Federal Election Commission.
Luetkemeyer's expenses are not that different in type from statewide candidates — consulting and other professional services, travel expenses, processing fees — just in amounts.
Geppert's campaign had $13,267 in receipts, had spent more than $13,270 and had no cash on hand, as of Oct. 11. Most of Geppert's expenses were for fundraising and campaign consulting services. Geppert's committee is based in St. Louis.
No information was available on Oglesby's campaign. Ogelsby is from Warrenton.