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Sinquefield Is Top Missouri Campaign Donor in 2014; McCaskill Leads Democrats

Rex Sinquefield
From Sinquefield website

During 2014, wealthy financier Rex Sinquefield cemented his place as Missouri’s top political donor — by far — by distributing close to $10 million to candidates and political groups.

His top recipient was Grow Missouri, a fiscally conservative political action committee, which received $4.25 million, according to the latest campaign finance reports. Coming in second was the like-minded Missouri arm of the Club for Growth, which collected $2.1 million from Sinquefield, who has homes in St. Louis and mid-Missouri.

Sinquefield’s money represented most of the money that both groups collected in 2014.

The candidates who benefited from Sinquefield’s generosity last year were primarily Republicans and include most of the big names running for office in 2016:

For many of the candidates, Sinquefield provided the bulk of the money they have raised so far. In Hanaway's case, for example, Sinquefield and Club for Growth provided about three-quarters of the $1.4 million that she has raised.
The Democrat who received the most from Sinquefield was former County Executive Charlie Dooley, who received $100,000 in 2014 for his re-election campaign. Dooley lost in the Aug. 5 primary to now-County Executive Steve Stenger, a Democrat who received no money from Sinquefield.

Former St. Louis Recorder of Deeds Jennifer Florida, a Democrat, obtained $40,000 from Sinquefield for her unsuccessful independent campaign for the post. She lost on Nov. 4 to Sharon Carpenter, the official Democratic nominee, who won back the job after being forced to step down as recorder of deeds last summer over accusations of nepotism. Carpenter received no financial help from Sinquefield.

McCaskill is top Democratic donor in Missouri for 2014

Meanwhile, U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill — a vocal critic of Sinquefield — appears to have been the top Democratic donor in the state in 2014.

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., says she learned a lot from her unsuccessful run for governor in 2004.
Credit Sen. McCaskill's Flickr page
Claire McCaskill

Campaign finance reports shows that McCaskill gave almost $1 million in 2014. Most of it — $900,000 — went to the Missouri Democratic Party.

She also gave $11,000 to help elect now-state Sen. Jill Schupp, D-Creve Coeur, and $1,000 to new state Rep. Deb Lavender, D-Kirkwood.

McCaskill announced this week that she's not running for governor and instead plans to get involved in efforts to persuade the General Assembly or the public to reinstate campaign donation limits in the state. Missouri’s previous donation limits, tossed out in 2008, generally applied only to money given to candidates, not political parties.

So far, activists have filed two initiative petitions with the secretary of state’s office to get donation-limit proposals on the 2016 ballot. But no major contributors have yet emerged to bankroll the signature-collection drives that would be necessary.

McCaskill has yet to endorse either drive, or to signal if she will conduct a separate initiative effort.

Jo Mannies has been covering Missouri politics and government for almost four decades, much of that time as a reporter and columnist at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. She was the first woman to cover St. Louis City Hall, was the newspaper’s second woman sportswriter in its history, and spent four years in the Post-Dispatch Washington Bureau. She joined the St. Louis Beacon in 2009. She has won several local, regional and national awards, and has covered every president since Jimmy Carter. She scared fellow first-graders in the late 1950s when she showed them how close Alaska was to Russia and met Richard M. Nixon when she was in high school. She graduated from Valparaiso University in northwest Indiana, and was the daughter of a high school basketball coach. She is married and has two grown children, both lawyers. She’s a history and movie buff, cultivates a massive flower garden, and bakes banana bread regularly for her colleagues.

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