Friday, October 29, 2021

Greitens accused of illegally funneling $100,000 into his Senate campaign

By Jason Hancock

A Washington, D.C., campaign finance watchdog has filed a complaint with the Federal Elections Commission against former Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens alleging he improperly spent more than $100,000 on his U.S. Senate campaign.

The complaint, filed Thursday by Campaign Legal Center, contends that Greitens has been illegally using leftover money from his gubernatorial campaign committee to subsidize his Senate campaign.

Federal law prohibits Senate candidates from using state campaign funds to support their run for federal office because state-level contributions are subject to different rules than federal-level contributions.

The complaint alleges Greitens used money from his state account to pay his eventual Senate campaign manager, public relations firms, media consulting firms and for digital costs.

“While Greitens’ 2022 Senate campaign may only accept contributions of up to $2,900 per individual and, importantly, cannot receive corporate funds, his gubernatorial campaign raised dozens of contributions far exceeding that amount — some as much as $100,000 and above,” Brendan Fischer, director of federal reform for Campaign Legal Center, said in a press release. “Senate candidates cannot quietly finance their campaign with six-figure and corporate contributions.”

In an emailed statement, Greitens’ campaign denied any wrongdoing.

“Eric Greitens has been under attack by radical liberals for years. Funds from the state campaign were used for compliance and to defend against attacks,” the campaign’s statement said. “No gubernatorial campaign funds were used for the Senate campaign and these ludicrous allegations from a radical, Soros-funded, left-wing D.C. activist group have no basis in reality.”

In June 2018, Greitens resigned from office amid accusations of violent sexual misconduct, stealing from veterans charity and illegal campaign activity.

He was also facing almost certain impeachment by the Republican-dominated General Assembly.

Nearly two years after he resigned, the Missouri Ethics Commission fined his gubernatorial campaign $178,000 — considered a record fine at the time — for failing to report spending by a federal PAC and a political nonprofit as in-kind donations.

Greitens announced he would seek the GOP nomination for the seat of retiring U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt in March.

The list of scandals that forced Greitens from the Missouri Governor’s Office in 2018 is long and varied.

He was accused of abuse by a woman he had an affair with in 2015, including taping her hands to pull-up rings in his basement, blindfolding her, spitting water into her mouth, ripping open her shirt, pulling down her pants and taking a photo without her consent.

The felony charge that stemmed from that allegation was eventually dropped by Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker, who cited statutes of limitation that had or were about to pass and potentially missing evidence.

He was also accused of stealing a donor list from a veteran’s charity he founded in order to boost his political career — a felony charge that was dropped as part of a plea deal that stipulated prosecutors had “sufficient evidence” to bring his case to trial.

(Photo by Rudi Keller/Missouri Independent)

Billy Long: Instead of "Build Back Better," Biden should have adopted "Leave Well Enough Alone"

(From Seventh District Congressman Billy Long)

Here we go again. After previous attempts at passing their radical agenda failed, this week Speaker Pelosi and President Biden tried desperately to get their tax and spend spree completed and across the finish line. 

We still don’t know what exactly the final bill will look like, but what we do know is that it will cripple an already struggling economy. Never mind the fact that inflation is soaring, and labor shortages have caused a supply chain crisis; Democrats are determined to pass this radical agenda, and never mind the consequences.

We already know that this agenda calls for one of the largest tax increases in American history. President Biden has claimed on several occasions that no one making less than $400,000 a year will see a tax increase. 

This is a lie that ranks up there with “If you like your doctor you can keep your doctor.” We don’t need experts to tell us that the American people are already paying for reckless spending. 

Inflation is a tax on the working class and one that the American people have felt in their wallets these last several months. Whenever you increase taxes on corporations, the cost always gets passed down to the consumer. So unfortunately for President Biden, the lie about not raising taxes on the working class doesn’t hold up to even the slightest scrutiny.

The Democrats also want to allocate $80 billion to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for new “enforcement abilities.” That is bureaucrat speak for surveillance on your bank account. Yes, they want to track any account with more than $10,000 in transactions in a single year. That is only $192 a week or $28 a day. 

This would allow the IRS to access bank accounts without a warrant. They claim that this is meant to go after billionaires who are skirting tax law, but let’s be honest, Elon Musk will hardly feel the impact. Instead, it will be the average American citizen who will be spied upon and harmed irreparably by this massive socialist overreach.

We still don’t know the price tag of this boondoggle. We’re told it is somewhere between $1.5 and $2 trillion. Combine that with the $1 trillion “infrastructure” bill and the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, and you get an added $5 trillion in spending since President Biden took office. This doesn’t even account for the annual budget of the United States. Bizarrely, the White House claims that the real cost is $0. I was forced to give up my real estate broker's license that I had since 1978 when I came to Congress but if you believe the cost will be $0 I have ocean-front property in Missouri to sell you. The reality is all this spending will add trillions of dollars to our national debt. So, no matter what White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki says, the cost will not be $0.

The true cost of this bill will come in the form of a stagnant economy. Inflation has drastically increased the cost of almost all everyday items. This bill would only worsen inflation, particularly energy prices, just in time for winter. The spending in this bill would also do nothing to fix the supply chain shortages that have dragged on for months. Despite all of this, the Democrats and their allies in the media are asking Americans to “lower their expectations.” They know they can’t win the messaging battle, their agenda is simply too radical for most Americans to accept, no matter how big of a bow they put on it.

Instead of 'Build Back Better' on January 20, 2021, how about if the new administration would have adopted 'Leave Well Enough Alone'? No CRT in schools, secure borders, remain in Mexico policy, Hyde Amendment, finish the wall, low inflation, low unemployment, finish Keystone XL Pipeline, energy independence. Oh well, we can always dream of what could have been. America first anyone?

Vicky Hartzler: Vaccine mandate threatens our troop strength and morale

(From Fourth District Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler)

President Biden’s military vaccine mandate threatens to levy a serious blow to troop strength and morale.

I have been contacted by several members of the military — both the voluntarily vaccinated and unvaccinated — expressing grave concern over this mandate. 

These concerns span from a deep personal opposition to the vaccine to a worry that we will lose valuable personnel because of this mandate. 

Even the vaccinated oppose this mandate because of what it may mean for the health and wellbeing of the military.

We ask a lot of our men and women in uniform, and this is not the time or the place for a government to make those who serve undergo a medical procedure or forego service to our nation. Forced vaccinations in employment policy violate individual liberties for the private sector and, certainly, violate individual liberties of those who fight to secure them.

As Americans, freedom and liberty should always reign.

Thursday, October 28, 2021

Parson issues executive order to fight federal COVID-19 vaccine mandates

(From Gov. Mike Parson)

Today, Governor Mike Parson announced that he has issued Executive Order 21-10 to protect the individual rights of Missourians against overreaching federal COVID-19 vaccine mandates.

Governor Parson released the following statement regarding the Order:

"As the Governor of the State of Missouri, I stand with concerned Missourians and will do all I can to stop federal COVID-19 vaccine mandates."

"When President Biden announced his initial plans to force unconstitutional vaccine mandates, we immediately began aligning state resources for legal action. While we hoped the Biden Administration would recognize these mandates as the abuse of authority that they are, they have not, and we must now use every tool we have available to fight this federal intrusion."

"The Constitution and its historical interpretations clearly leave public health decisions to the states. The federal government has no authority to issue COVID-19 vaccine mandates. The Biden Administration acting alone to dictate and mandate health requirements represents the kind of federal power grab the founding fathers warned us against."

"In the State of Missouri, public health decisions are left to the people to either make their own personal decisions or speak through their elected representatives in the General Assembly. The Biden Administration's vaccine mandates undermine and deny Missourians’ their right to make personal health decisions and to speak through their elected representatives."

"More than three million Missourians are fully vaccinated. Nearly 70 percent of Missourians 18 and older and nearly 90 percent of Missourians 65 and older have initiated vaccination. Missouri's weekly positivity rate has decreased to 6.4 percent and the number of COVID-19 patients in Missouri hospitals has dramatically declined. Missourians are using common sense and our numbers have improved without federal mandates."

"Let me be clear, we continue to encourage all Missourians to get vaccinated. We can support vaccination without supporting mandates. We are issuing this order to protect our system of government and the individual rights of Missourians to make their own health care decisions."

"Never before since our nation's founding has a president unilaterally forced vaccinations onto the American people. Due process is a foundational principle of our democracy, and this unprecedented and dangerous action threatens our system of government and the individual freedoms we enjoy."

Executive Order 21-10 orders and directs the following actions to oppose the Biden Administration's overreaching federal COVID-19 vaccine mandates:
All agencies, boards, commissions, and other entities within the executive branch of state government are directed to cooperate fully and timely with the Attorney General of the State of Missouri in litigation on behalf of the State of Missouri against any federally imposed COVID-19 vaccine mandate or requirement.
No agency, board, commission, or other entity within the executive branch of state government shall compel any individual to receive the COVID-19 vaccine according to federal vaccine mandates if the individual objects for religious or medical reasons.
No agency, board, commission, or other entity within the executive branch of state government shall penalize individuals or businesses for non-compliance with federally imposed COVID-19 vaccine mandates if the individual objects for religious or medical reasons.

To view Executive Order 21-10, click here.

Agenda posted for Joplin City Council meeting

6:00 P.M.



Call To Order

Pledge of Allegiance of the United States of America

Roll Call




Finalization Of Consent Agenda


Reports And Communications


Downtown Joplin Alliance Update


Health Department Update


News From The Public Information Office


Citizen Requests And Petitions


Abbie Covington Requested To Speak On Joplin Police & Fire


Public Hearings


Public Hearing Procedures



A RESOLUTION granting a Special Use Permit (1st Request) for the operation of a short-term rental located at 416 S. Florida Ave., in the City of Joplin, Jasper County, Missouri.



AN ORDINANCE amending Ordinance No. 2004-256, passed by the Council of the City of Joplin, Missouri, November 15, 2004, by removing from District M-2 (Heavy Industrial) and  including in District R-3 (Apartment House) property as described below and located at approximately 550 feet South of the intersection of S. Rex Ave and E. 13th Street, in the City of Joplin, Jasper County, Missouri.



AN ORDINANCE amending Ordinance No. 2004-256, passed by the Council of the City of Joplin, Missouri, November 15, 2004, by removing from District R-2 (Two- Family Residential) and including in District R-3 (Apartment House) property as described below and located at 3431 E 10th Street, City of Joplin, Jasper County, Missouri.



AN ORDINANCE amending Ordinance No. 2004-256, passed by the Council of the City of Joplin, Missouri, November 15, 2004, by removing from District C-O (Non-retail Commercial) and including in District C-3 (Commercial) property as described below and located at approximately 175 feet of the intersection of S. Connecticut Ave and E. 24th Street.



AN ORDINANCE providing to vacate approximately 700 feet East of the intersection of E. 9th Street and S. Rex Ave., City of Joplin, Jasper County, Missouri.


Consent Agenda


Minutes Of The October 18, 2021 City Council Meeting


Minutes Of The October 26, 2021 Special City Council Meeting



AN ORDINANCE amending Chapter 114, “Traffic,” by enacting a new Article XII, “Utility Vehicles.”

  1. CB2021-003.PDF


AN ORDINANCE approving an Agreement between the City of Joplin, Missouri, and Owen & Eastlake Ltd.; authorizing the City Manager or his designee, Director of Planning, Development and Neighborhood Services, to execute same on behalf of the City.


  1. CB2021-406.PDF




A RESOLUTION authorizing the City of Joplin to enter into Memorandum of Understanding with the National Institute of Standards (NIST) Engineering Laboratory and the Center for Risk-Based Community Resilience Planning (CoE) to collaborate on the development and validation of a Community Resilience Planning Guide for buildings and infrastructure and for the development and validation of the Interdependent Networked Community Resilience Modeling Environment (IN-CORE) software program to help communities optimize community resilience planning and post disaster recovery.  


Ordinances - Emergency



AN ORDINANCE approving a Contract by and between the City of Joplin and Symetra to provide stop loss coverage for the City’s health self-insurance coverage on behalf of the employer, the City of Joplin; authorizing the City Manager to execute said Contract by and on behalf of the City of Joplin; and containing an emergency clause.    



AN ORDINANCE adopting and establishing pay rates for certain Unclassified Council Employees; and, containing an emergency clause.



AN ORDINANCE approving a Purchase Order to be issued to Superion to cover the annual support payment for the Public Safety and Financial software and related systems as budgeted in the Annual Budget of the City of Joplin for the Fiscal Year 2021-2022 as adopted by Council Bill 2021-523 on October 18, 2021; and containing an emergency clause.



AN ORDINANCE authorizing the City of Joplin to enter into an agreement with MacQueen Equipment LLC; DBA MacQueen Emergency Group., a Missouri Corporation, for the purpose of purchasing one (1) new Pierce Enforcer Aerial 107’ Ascendant with rear-mount aerial for the not to exceed price of One Million One Hundred Twenty-Four Thousand Dollars and No Cents ($1,124,000.00); authorizing the City Manager or his designee to execute the same by and on behalf of the City of Joplin; amending the Annual Budget of the City of Joplin for the Fiscal Year 2021-2022 as adopted by Ordinance 2021-150 on October 18, 2021; and, containing an emergency clause.


Ordinances - First Reading



AN ORDINANCE  approving an agreement and work authorization with Burns and McDonnell in the not to exceed amount of Ninety-Six Thousand Four Hundred Fifty and 00/100 Dollars ($96,450.00) for professional engineering consulting services for preparing the City of Joplin’s Solid Waste Masterplan; authorizing the City Manager or his designee to execute the same by and on behalf of the City of Joplin; amending the Annual Budget of the City of Joplin for the Fiscal Year 2021-2022 as adopted by Ordinance 2021-149 on October 18, 2021.


Ordinances - Second Reading And Third Reading


Unfinished Business


New Business


Vote To Go Into Closed Session, Which Shall Pertain To Leasing, Purchasing Or Sale Of Real Estate By A Public Governmental Body Where Public Knowledge Of The Transaction Might Adversely Affect The Legal Consideration Therefore; And Which Shall Pertain To The Hiring, Firing, Disciplining, Or Promotion Of An Employee Or Particular Employees Of A Governmental Body Involving Personal Information; As Set Forth In Section 610.021(2) (3) RSMo, As Amended, 2020. This Meeting, Record, And Vote To Be Closed To The Extent Provided By Law. The City Council Shall Adjourn At The End Of The Session.

Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Nancy Hughes: Like a child

“And he said: ‘I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.’”

Matthew 18:3 (NIV)

We could all see it coming. My son-in-law had only seconds before said “Nothing good is going to come from this” as we all watched through the window while seven year old Jude built a ramp out of boards and a card table and then ran to get his bike.

Oh, he had a helmet on but that did nothing to protect the rest of his body as he raced up the makeshift ramp and immediately fell off the side. He hopped up and gave us all a thumbs up but quickly grabbed his left wrist.

His mom and dad immediately checked him out but he reassured them that he was just fine and his wrist only hurt a little. However the next day, the wrist hurt even more and he was unable to move it without a quick intake of breath and a grimace of pain.

I volunteered to take him to the doctor since both parents were working. I was not at all surprised that, after an examination, the doctor wrote an order for an x-ray.

Jude was very concerned about what the outcome might be. “I start flag football on Saturday, Grandma,” he said. I’ve waited all my life (7 years) to play football and if it’s broken, I can’t play!”

I took him by his unhurt hand as we walked into the hospital to the x-ray department. “Jude, God knows that you have waited to play football ‘all your life.’ Maybe it’s just a sprain or it’s jammed. I am going to pray right this minute that it’s not broken.”

He glanced up at me. “You are just NOW praying, Grandma? I’ve been praying since I fell on it yesterday.” Ouch.

When did I forget that I needed to become like a little child before my Father as Matthew 18:3 says? I confess that I worried about his arm. I pictured the worst that could be wrong, like a major fracture and surgery. But I did not pray about it until I heard the fear in my grandson’s voice that his wrist might be broken.

How about you? When faced with a situation that could possibly have a bad outcome, do you pray immediately like Jude did? Or do you worry, become anxious and picture the worst BEFORE you think to pray – like I did?

“Become like little children.” That’s my encouragement for all of us. When something happens, right then is the time to pray. Not as an afterthought. Not if all else fails. Nope. Pray immediately. Our faithful Father hears and He answers.

The great news from the doctor was that Jude did not have a break; his wrist was jammed and would quickly heal. As we climbed in my car, I turned around to see Jude, hands together and eyes looking upward as he thanked the Lord for His answer.

Lord, please help me to be like this little child Jude.

Father, I desire to be as a little child and trust you completely with everything in my life. May I always react first with prayer. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

R.A.P. it up . . .


What is your immediate response to a tough situation?

Do you panic or do you pray?


Journal situations or problems you have had for the last month and beside each one write your first response: prayer or panic.

If you wrote “panic” beside any of them, determine whether or not that helped resolve the situation. Then decide that your first response from now on will be prayer.


Matthew 18:3 (NIV) “And he said: ‘I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.’”

Philippians 4:6 (NIV) “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”

Matthew 19:14 (NIV) “Jesus said, ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”

(For more of Nancy Hughes' writing, check out her blog, Encouragement from the War Room.) 

Paul Richardson: The broken weld

We were southbound, my little brother Ray and I, when as preparing for the trip, we stopped at the interchange on Highway 71. It may have been Interstate 49 by that time, but we were at a place called Stangs. 

Stangs sat on top of the hill, just outside of Anderson, and for us it was an ideal place to begin our journey. We could top off the tanks with fuel, get a bite to eat and make all the general provisions necessary for riding the next four hours. 

Upon the completion of all of our sundry business, we were exiting the store when we found a gentleman walking around and viewing our bikes. 

The usual polite conversation followed, but we were to find out a lot more about him than we had ventured for. He was driving a custom-built T-bucket and was on his way to a car show somewhere in Kansas. 

His T-bucket had all of the standard features, open motor, windshield, and bucket covered with the square shaped frame and a soft top. Narrow front tires and wide rear tires, accented by the headlight buckets set on the chrome bar crosspiece that dressed out the front of the vehicle. 

He talked about his previous attempts to build this car but found that he was not properly equipped. His wife and daughter had taken up the cause and purchased him new welding equipment, equipment that he felt was the answer to his many previous problems. 

This time, this time he said was the completion of a car that he was really pleased with and his tribute to that was to travel to the car show in Kansas and enter the T-bucket into the competition. I don’t remember where he was from, how far he was from home, or how far it was to the event that he was planning on attending. 

To the best of my memory this must have been a Friday or a Saturday because any other day of the week would have been a trip that would have resulted in a “sit and wait” period prior to any car show. 

If people are going a distance to enter a show, they may go the day ahead in order to have time to clean the entry and get it ready for the show. It is kind of like “fitting” a cow before the county fair. All I do know is that he was going to need all the time available after what was going to happen next. He finally completed his story about the construction of the car and his great pride in this accomplishment, along with his admiration of the T-bucket, which is a classic item for any car show, when he stated that he must take his leave. 

Brother Ray and I watched as he pulled out and away from the fuel pumps. We calmly stood by our bikes as he left the entrance to Stangs and pulled out onto the highway. He was on his approach to the bridge that would cross I-49/Hwy 71 and take him to the northbound on-ramp, when he realized that he was in full view of Ray and me. 

At this point he punched the accelerator on the car and the end result was something that we had never seen before. 

When he hit the gas, the engine revved up, the torque traveled down the driveshaft, the transfer case on the rear axle received all of that power, and the rear of the car lifted up, the rear axle came out from under the car. 

Immediately the T-bucket sat down on the pavement on the frame and continued to travel down the lane. The rear axle bounced a couple of times and then began an end-over-end somersault motion, eventually vaulting over the guardrail and into the northwest quadrant of the interchange. 

At this point, Brother Ray turned to me and said, “I don’t think those welds held. We’re not going to leave in that direction, let’s take a right and the long way around down to Pineville.” It was one of those moments of “that’s gotta’ hurt,” at least your pride, and “I’ve never seen anything like that before.” 

Broken welds can change your day, I have had my own experience, but that’s another story.

Jasper County reports four COVID-19 deaths, 15 new cases confirmed

(From the Jasper County Health Department)

The Jasper County Health Department is saddened to report four deaths due to COVID-19.

This brings the total deaths to 235.

The residents include two males with one each in their 50s and 60s, as well as two females, both in their 80s.

Our condolences go out to the family members.

COVID Update 10-27-2021
15 new positive cases

<1 year 0
1-4 yrs 0
5-11 yrs 1
12-19yrs 2
20-29yrs 3
30-39yrs 2
40-49yrs 4
50-59yrs 3
60-69yrs 0
70-79yrs 0
80-89yrs 0
90+yrs 0
Vaccinated = 2
Reinfection = 0

1 Comment

Parson applauds MSBA decision to leave national organization

(From Gov. Mike Parson)

Today, Governor Mike Parson released the following statement in support of the Missouri School Boards Association's (MSBA) decision to leave the National School Boards Association (NSBA):

"We applaud MSBA's decision to withdraw from NSBA. Missouri parents value local control, and when it comes to our children's education, parents have a right to know what is being taught and to have their voices heard. Recent actions by NSBA to paint parents as radicals and solicit unwarranted action by the Biden Administration shows a clear disconnect with Missouri Schools."

"In Missouri, we have strict laws to hold those accountable who harass or threaten school personnel. Our highly-trained local law enforcement are more than capable of handling these situations and do not need the DOJ or FBI injecting federal bureaucracy into our local matters. MSBA and its members have also fostered productive and successful relationships with local law enforcement to prevent these circumstances."

"We appreciate MSBA standing up for our students, teachers, and parents alike and recognizing that Missouri will play no part in criminalizing concerned parents. This action shows Missouri schools take parents' First Amendment rights seriously and will protect Missourians' abilities to speak freely and petition their local school boards. The state looks forward to working with MSBA in the future to continue advancing quality K-12 education and promoting a transparent school system."

Missouri School Boards Association withdraws from national organization over letter to Biden

By Tessa Weinberg

The Missouri School Boards’ Association withdrew from its parent organization last week over a letter the national organization sent calling for federal intervention to address acts of “domestic terrorism” at hostile school board meetings nationwide.

Missouri School Boards’ Association (MSBA) members were informed of the decision in a letter sent Monday afternoon. The group’s executive director, Melissa Randol, wrote that the National School Boards Association “has demonstrated it does not currently align with MSBA’s guiding principles of local governance.”

MSBA’s executive committee recommended last week that the organization’s board of directors withdraw from the National School Boards Association (NSBA) and the decision was made during a special meeting Friday morning, said Brent Ghan, MSBA’s deputy executive director. NSBA did not immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday about MSBA’s decision.

While no school board member or educators should receive threats of violence for the decisions they make for students, attempting to address harassment with federal intervention “is antithetical to our longstanding tradition of local control” and should not be the first step in most cases, Randol wrote in the letter.

A copy was obtained by The Independent.

Additionally, “inflammatory terms” in the national organization’s letter “is not a model for promoting greater civility and respect for the democratic process,” Randol wrote.

In a Sept. 29 letter to President Joe Biden, NSBA’s president and its interim executive director and CEO likened threats and violence against school officials “to a form of domestic terrorism and hate crimes.”

School board meetings nationwide have become increasingly hostile over debates on topics like COVID mitigation measures and critical race theory, and have resulted in some board members quitting their positions.

The organization called on Biden to direct law enforcement agencies, like the U.S. Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigations to take action, including reviewing whether enforcement should be taken under laws like the PATRIOT Act — which was passed in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attack.

Ghan said neither MSBA nor any of the the other state school board associations were consulted prior to the letter’s release.

“The letter did come as a surprise to us,” Ghan said.

MSBA is not the only state chapter to pull its membership, with school board associations in Ohio and Pennsylvania also announcing their withdrawal from the national organization. The Florida chapter announced it would refuse to pay membership dues.

The National School Boards Association has since apologized to its members. In a Friday letter, the national organization apologized for some of the language it used in its September letter and “for the strain and stress this situation has caused.”

Randol wrote in her letter to Missouri school boards that the apology is a step in the right direction, but that NSBA still has “significant work ahead” to prevent similar issues in the future and repair fractured relationships.

MSBA’s decision to sever ties with the National School Boards Association follows pushback the parent organization has received nationwide after its September letter, including from Missouri Republicans.

Earlier this month, Attorney General Eric Schmitt joined a coalition of state attorneys general urging the U.S. Department of Justice to withdraw a memo advising the Federal Bureau of Investigations to coordinate strategies to address threats against educators.

Schmitt, who is running for U.S. Senate, also sent a letter of his own to U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland and urged the Biden Administration to “prioritize parents over school bureaucrats.”

U.S. Sen. Josh Hawley called on Garland to resign and praised MSBA for withdrawing from the national organization.

In a statement Tuesday afternoon, Gov. Mike Parson also applauded MSBA’s decision and said it showed Missouri schools take parent’s First Amendment rights seriously.

“We appreciate MSBA standing up for our students, teachers, and parents alike and recognizing that Missouri will play no part in criminalizing concerned parents,” Parson said.

In a letter posted to Facebook earlier this month, Senate Majority Leader Caleb Rowden called on MSBA to clarify its stance. Rowden asked whether MSBA believed concerned parents are domestic terrorists and if they “should be punished with the same tools used to punish the perpetrators of the September 11 Attack, the deadliest act of terrorism ever committed on American soil?”

Rowden is mulling a run for Congress, and on Monday, he teased a potential announcement on Nov. 8, changing his Facebook cover photo to read “The Next Chapter.”

(Photo by Rudi Keller, Missouri Independent)

Monday, October 25, 2021

Dade County to pay widow of Springfield man $300,000 to settle wrongful death lawsuit

The widow of a Springfield man who was shot to death by a Dade County deputy during a well-being check June 23 at Stockton Lake will receive a $300,000 settlement from the county, according to an agreement filed today in U. S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri.

Under the terms of the agreement, the county admits to no wrongdoing, but is paying the settlement to avoid the cost of a lengthy litigation.

Judy Deering will receive $199,899, while her attorneys will receive $100,101, according to the settlement.

The lawsuit, which was originally filed in Dade County Circuit Court has been transferred to U. S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri.

Judy Deering claims Dade County Deputy Eric Carrier shot her husband, Gary Deering, 74, to death at Stockton Lake June 23 after she called with concerns that Deering, a victim of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, might harm himself and had access to a gun.

According to the lawsuit, Carrier shot Deering through the driver's side window of his vehicle, while the gun remained locked in a console.

Joplin Honkey pleads guilty to meth conspiracy

A Joplin man referred to in an Ozark Drug Enforcement Task Force news release as a member of the Joplin Honkeys gang pleaded guilty this morning in U. S. District Court in Springfield to a meth conspiracy charge.

According to the plea agreement, Randy Forsythe, 52. sold a total of 58.3 grams of methamphetamine to an undercover officer June 3, June 19 and June 21 2019 in Newton County.

As part of the plea agreement, a second conspiracy charge, two trafficking charges and a weapons charge will be dismissed.

Judge David P. Rush ordered a pre-sentence investigation. No date has been set for sentencing.

The Ozarks Drug Enforcement Team and Jasper County Sheriff's Office SWAT arrested Forsythe December 4, 2019, following the execution of a search warrant at 1926 County Road 155, Carthage. Two suspects, including Forsythe, were arrested following a one-hour standoff.

Parson's secretive dismissals of cabinet officials raising red flags

By Jason Hancock

As Gov. Mike Parson was in Rocheport earlier this month participating in the ceremonial groundbreaking for a new bridge, his chief of staff was back in Jefferson City showing a member of his cabinet the door.

The Oct. 12 departure of Sarah Steelman as commissioner of the Office of Administration marked the third time in six months that a member of Parson’s cabinet was let go suddenly and without any public explanation.

And just like the previous two — former Health Director Randall Williams and COO Drew Erdmann — Steelman was asked to resign effective immediately, and her resignation letter is being withheld from public disclosure.

In addition to Steelman, the governor also replaced the general counsel for the Office of Administration, which is the agency that handles contracts and purchasing for state government.

Caroline Coulter, who is still listed online as working in the governor’s office as of Monday morning, has replaced Jim McAdams, who served as general counsel for the Office of Administration for the last four years after decades working in state government.

The turmoil within the Parson administration, and the lack of transparency, is concerning, said House Minority Leader Crystal Quade, D-Springfield. But it’s especially troubling, she said, now that it involves the state’s purchasing agency.

“All of this happening with no public explanation is a giant red flag,” said House Minority Leader Crystal Quade, D-Springfield. “And when it’s the state agency that handles contracts, at a time when there are lots of questions about no-bid contracts and state spending, the way the governor is handling it just fuels conspiracies.”

One Republican close to the governor, who asked for anonymity to speak candidly, put it more bluntly: “Moves like this make it look to those on the outside like the wheels are coming off. And, frankly, a lot of the time that’s how it feels on the inside, too.”

A spokeswoman for the governor, Kelli Jones, did not respond to requests for comment on the changes at the Office of Administration.

Asked about Steelman’s departure by the nonprofit news site The Center Square, Parson chalked it up to moving on from cabinet members who were holdovers from his predecessor, former Gov. Eric Greitens.


Steelman has been replaced by Ken Zellers, who was hired in 2017 under Greitens to serve as chief operating officer of the department of revenue. He was promoted to director of that agency in 2019.

Parson didn’t explain why Steelman, who he told Center Square had been “a friend a long time,” was let go abruptly while he was away from the Capitol.

“When you are an at-will employee and you work for the governor,” Parson said, “changes are going to be made.”

After news broke that she was leaving, Steelman told The Independent that she was called into the office of Parson’s chief of staff, Aaron Willard, and asked to resign.

“I asked if I did something wrong,” she said at the time, “and he said ‘no.’ So I resigned.”

She did not offer any further details.

Some Democratic lawmakers have publicly speculated whether Steelman’s departure was connected to the discovery of a security flaw in a website operated by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. Information technology for the state government is housed within the Office of Administration.

But it appears from publicly available records that wasn’t a factor.

A Post-Dispatch reporter discovered that Social Security numbers for teachers, administrators and counselors were visible in the HTML code of a publicly accessible website. The newspaper informed the state of the problem and promised not to publish any story until the issue was fixed.

Two days later, Parson publicly accused the newspaper reporter of being a hacker and vowed to push for criminal prosecution.

Steelman was asked to resign by Parson’s chief of staff the morning of Oct. 12. According to emails obtained through a request under Missouri’s Sunshine Law, the state education department wasn’t made aware of the security flaw by the Post-Dispatch until later that morning.

Speculation has also swirled around the fact that Steelman’s departure came a few months after her husband had a public falling out with the governor over the actions of lobbyist and Parson adviser Steve Tilley.

David Steelman, a longtime member of the University of Missouri Board of Curators, raised objections about Tilley using his job as lobbyist for the university to seek business for his other clients. He expressed concern that if he didn’t “play ball” with Tilley that he’d lose his seat on the board of curators.

Parson demanded David Steelman resign after the concerns became public. When he refused, the governor appointed a replacement for him on the board after the legislature adjourned for the year, avoiding what promised to be a tough confirmation battle in the Missouri Senate.

In addition to Steelman’s departure from the Office of Administration, Parson announced last week a number of shifts in his cabinet, including naming his deputy chief of staff, Robert Knodell, as acting director of the Department of Social Services.

Knodell resigned from the governor’s office to take the new job. Parson’s office is also refusing to turn over his resignation letter.

“No record shall be provided,” the governor’s office said in response to The Independent’s request for both Knodell and Steelman’s resignation letters under Missouri’s Sunshine Law.

Prior to this year, resignation letters were routinely made public following the departure of department directors.

The Independent’s Tessa Weinberg contributed to this story.