Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Contributing Beer and Coal

We are back and delivering as always, on the eve of this much anticipated Fall Break; here at Truman State. Fear not my fellow fans of funding, this dynamic duo shall continue to deliver even in a moment of relaxation; like the majestic Clydesdale, we will be bringing you refreshing and fun news throughout the week. Today shall focus on some of the top donors to Susan Montee’s campaign to retain the seat of Missouri State Auditor. Like many other Democrats, Mrs. Montee has several contributions from labor unions and lawyers; one stand-out contributor to her efforts is that of, “Peabody Energy”. Out of the entire $766,306 raised, they contributed a sizeable $10,000 to the cause and represent the only Energy & Natural Resources section of her campaign (excluding a small $100 donation from a railroad company).

Peabody Energy claims to be the “…world's largest private-sector coal company and the only global pure-play coal investment.” They have an office in St. Louis, MO and have a hand in the mining industry here in the local government of Missouri. This is not to say that this coal-mining company is a small-time actor, quite the contrary, this group actually doubled its third quarter profit ($280.3 Mil from $135.5 Mil); a large amount of this is due to the fact that there has been a rise in the need for coal energy (particularly from China).
In relation to her efforts, this endorsement comes during an interesting period. Over the summer, on the 16th of June, the city of St. Louis offered the company a $61 million tax incentive to keep their company firmly planted in the Show Me State; largely due to the impact they have on the economy, plus the 500+ jobs they currently supply to the people of St. Louis. Not 18 days had passed after this offering, before Peabody Energy supplied Auditor Montee with the contribution.

While this isn’t scandalous as some might’ve been hoping for, it does come at a bit of whimsy, due to the fact that 2 months earlier in April, the State Auditor’s Office has published a report that critiqued Tax Credit Programs. The report stated, “In each case state agencies overstated the economic impact of the program.” The report had examined the varying effectiveness of several local programs and found that most of them were not nearly as convincing as they had been pitched.
Regardless of this, Peabody Energy is a staple of blue-collar jobs and economic support in the state, as well as helping the campaign to re-elect Susan Montee as State Auditor. In addition to this corporation, another popular company has thrown down MO dough for Susan Montee’s quest for re-election, St. Louis based Anheuser-Busch. Anheuser Busch is a separately owned sub-company of the Belgium brewing company Anheuser Busch InBev. Anheuser Busche InBev is the largest brewing company in the world, and Anheuser-Busch is the largest brewery in the United States.

Anheuser Busch and Anheuser Busch InBev are not new players in the game of political contributions. Anheuser-Busch InBev sent over 3 million dollars across the pond in 2008-2009 for federal lobbying opportunities. Anheuser-Busch InBev has contributed to Robin Carnahan and Republican challenger Roy Blunt this political season. Anheuser-Busch has its own political action committee or PAC which as so far this cycle spent over 1 million dollars. Robin Carnahan and Roy Blunt also received money from this PAC. For a complete list of recipients check out Don’t remember what a PAC is? Check out our blog entry from September!

So far this campaign season Anheuser-Busch has contributed $15,000 to Montee. But Montee is not the only one receiving major donations from the brewery. Anheuser-Busch has also contributed $10,000 to Montee’s opponent, Tom Schweich, as well as Allen Icet, a Republican candidate who lost in the primaries. But the giving is nearly balanced as Anheuser-Busch has previously given 49.8% to Democrats, and 50.2% to Republicans.
Chart taken from followthemoney,org
For more information on Tom Schweich check out our classmates blog Show Me The Money MO GOP 2010.

Come back on Friday for an equally exciting blog written by two Truman Students enjoying their much awaited Fall Break!!

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