Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Turner Report beats Kansas City Star on Greitens contributions story- by seven and a half months

The investigative reporters of the Kansas City Star revealed to their readers today that Gov. Eric Greitens received $370,000 from members of Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos' family and other voucher/charter school supporters.

it is a great story and might have had more impact if the Star had done its research before the election when all of that information was already available.

And the number is not $370,000, but at least $700,000 as the Turner Report revealed when this blog broke the story on October 8, a full month before the election.

Actually, though the Star story features the bylines of two reporters,  Kelsey Ryan and Jason Hancock, the newspaper's research came from the National Institute on Money in State Politics and was inspired by an Associated Press article.

According to the data of top school-choice proponent donations in 2016, Greitens received:

▪ $40,000 from Betsy and Richard DeVos.

▪ $55,301 from venture capitalist William Draper III.

▪ $275,000 from Home Depot co-founder Bernie Marcus.

The data show the $275,000 Greitens received from Marcus was the second-largest donation to any individual candidate from top school-choice supporters in 2016.

As it turns out, the Turner Report missed Draper's contributions, meaning that the actual amount of money Greitens received from voucher supporters was closer to $750,000.

The Kansas City Star and apparently the other organizations whose work inspired the Star's article missed an additional $60,000 from members of the DeVos family. It is obvious from the article that no one from the Star ever looked through the actual Missouri Ethics Commission documents.

This is what I wrote in the October 8, 2016 Turner Report:

While much publicity has been given to the amount of money Republican gubernatorial candidate Eric Greitens has received from proponents of right to work laws, the former Navy SEAL has also been receiving sizable contributions from anti-public school sources, including longtime voucher and charter school proponents.

A search of Missouri Ethics Commission documents shows that Greitens has received at least $695,000 with a record of attacking public schools and teachers while pushing for charter schools and privatization.

Among those contributing to Greitens:

$275,000 from Bernard Marcus, founder of Home Depot. Marcus gave $250,000 to the misnamed Families for Better Public Schools, a pro-charter committee in Georgia. (The only thing public about charter schools is that they drain taxpayer money from public schools. The public has no say in how the schools are operated, they do not have publicly elected boards, and board meetings are seldom, if ever, open to the public.)

$50,000 from Ron Weiser, one of the top contributors to the Great Lakes Education Project, an advocacy group for expanding so-called school choice and charter schools.

$10,000 from Linda McMahon, former CEO of World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE)

$125,000 from Julian Robertson, founder of Tiger Management, who gave $25 million to the Success Academy charter schools.

$100,000 from Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner, a private equity multi-millionaire who started the Rauner College Prep Charter Schools. Rauner recently said, "Half of Chicago Public School teachers are virtually illiterate."

$100,000 (five $20,000 contributions) from the DeVos family of Michigan, which originally found the pro-voucher group All Children Matter and Amway. Dick DeVos began the effort to undermine public schools by calling them "government schools."

$10,000 from Bill Bloomfield, chairman of Baron Real Estate, who spent more than three million dollars trying unsuccessfully to elect former charter school executive Marshall Tuck as state superintendent of public instruction in California and contributed $2.1 million to Ed Voice, which fights teacher tenure laws.

$25,000 from Marlene Ricketts, Chicago Cubs owner. The Cubs charity contributes considerable money to Chicago charter schools.

The amount of money Greitens has received from public education foes may be far greater than the contributions listed above.

The Republican Governors Association-Missouri has contributed $6 million to Greitens, funneling money from the Republican Governors Association a 527c organization that does not reveal its donors.

At this point, Missourians also have no way of knowing who contributed to the $1,975,000 Greitens received from a group calling itself Seals for Truth, though that group is not 527c and will have to list its donors on its quarterly financial report which is due to the FEC by October 15. The contribution was the largest in Missouri history, until Greitens received $2.5 million from Republican Governors Association-Missouri, the largest of five contributions from the committee.

Greitens' website lists a one-paragraph statement on his beliefs on education:

Too many Missouri children and parents are trapped in failing schools. I’ll lead efforts to provide more choices and opportunities for kids who need it most.

Ironically, the tens of millions Greitens has received from out-of-state sources would go a long way toward alleviating the poverty that is responsible for many of the ills that face public education.


Anonymous said...

I'm guessing a few more people read the KC Star than the Turner Report

Randy said...

I am sure you thought that was a clever remark, 8:04, but if you will read what I wrote, that is exactly the point I was making. That kind of information, in a publication with hundreds of thousands of readers, would have made much more of a difference had it covered this in October. The Turner Report generally has between 5,000 and 6,000 visitors a day.

Anonymous said...

Randy, that's the way they like it here, apparently. With the R-8 looking at some pretty large debts, the threat of funds being siphoned off means nothing here in Joplin. It has become somewhat amusing to watch this unfold. Even if the information had been seen, they would have voted for the R, no matter what. All you can do is laugh at this point. The bills will be coming though, but I doubt most people realize how this perfect storm could hit the r-8.

Anonymous said...

Graft, corruption and unethical dealings are the Republican party. Just look at their con man in the Whitehouse. Following the so called president's unethical behavior, granting ethics waivers to his swamp, (now 17 and counting), breaking the emoluments clause, so many conflict of interest lawsuits that you can't keep count and Russia ties out the wazoo. Yessiree Billybob. Something to be proud of. Keep voting for these slugs because they have an "R" beside their name. You will think twice about it later when you don't have insurance or Social Security when you retire. Make that "if" you retire.