Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Editorial: An Open Letter to Rex Sinquefield

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Editorial: An Open Letter to Rex Sinquefield

Article excerpt

Dear Mr. Sinquefield,

As you well know, over the past few years, we've frequently found ourselves at odds. We've said some things. You've said some things. Were we trying to repair a soured relationship, this is where we'd say "sorry" for some of those things. But let's face it, neither one of us is sorry.

We fundamentally disagree about what constitutes good public policy for the state of Missouri. You want to slash taxes, particularly for the wealthy. We look at the experience of Kansas, which followed your policies, and economic history in general, and think "trickle down" has been refuted as a serious idea.

You also believe that spending vast sums of money on political candidates you wrote a record $1 million check for a brand new Republican candidate for lieutenant governor just this week is simply an exercise in free speech. We believe it's a dangerous erosion of the public trust that further separates most people (especially those who won't benefit from your tax cuts) from the people who are supposed to serve them. We believe that money is property, not speech, but five justices of the Supreme Court disagree.

Here's the rockiest part of our relationship: We actually agree on some things. Take school choice. We think you go too far with support of vouchers for private schools, but we likely agree that all public schools in the St. Louis region should open their doors to any student in the region, regardless of arbitrary boundaries drawn decades ago. You might even agree with us that the region should unite into one school district.

Regionalism is our area of greatest agreement: We believe that some of the solutions likely to come out of the Better Together study will help deal with fundamental divisions that have hurt our region's unity for decades. We have broad agreement, we think, on the need for fewer municipalities, police and fire departments and municipal courts.

That's why we're writing you. Our region is facing massive challenges, and like it or not, we know you are going to be part of the conversation. So we have one, simple request:

Could you please instruct your vast army of political operatives to stop being deceitful about how they spend your money? Let us explain.

This fall, a political action committee from Washington, D.C., which you had previously supported, the Republican State Leadership Committee, spent about $300,000 trying to defeat incumbent Cole County Judge Patricia Joyce. A lot of people, including us, assumed you were the source of that money. You had funneled money to the RSLC before to surreptitiously support a secretary of state candidate. And Judge Joyce had ruled against one of your ubiquitous ballot issues. But your spokespeople wouldn't fess up. Neither would the RSLC.

Last week, long after the election (Judge Joyce won, thank goodness), the RSLC filed paperwork with the IRS that showed that yes, you were the likely source of the $300,000, owing to the fact that on Oct. …

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