Friday, October 19, 2012

New York Times profiles Rex Sinquefield's political largess

Posted By on Fri, Oct 19, 2012 at 10:45 AM

Rex Sinquefield is making moves in statewide races.
  • U.S. Chess Trust
  • Rex Sinquefield is making moves in statewide races.
To Missourians, St. Louis-based political donor and activist Rex Sinquefield is ubiquitous for fueling campaigns and political pet projects with buckets of his own cash. He was the guy trying to outlaw Kansas City's and St. Louis' earnings taxes in 2010. Perhaps it was only a matter of time before the national media picked up on Sinquefield's deep pockets. Friday, The New York Times published an excellent breakdown of Sinquefield's reach and willingness to write fat checks to candidates and causes he supports.

The piece notes that since 2008, there have been caps on individual campaign contributions in Missouri, and Sinquefield has taken full advantage of the new relaxed rules. This election cycle, the paper reports, Sinquefield's candidate of choice is Republican candidate for Secretary of State Shane Schoeller, who is running against Democratic state Rep. Jason Kander.

Sinquefield, the Times writes, has lavished Schoeller with contributions, including checks for $150,000 and $250,000 when Schoeller "had nearly run out of money."

Although his campaign has relied so heavily on Sinquefield, Schoeller told the paper that if he wins, he won't just be the retired investor's puppet.

“I’m grateful for the support that Mr. Sinquefield has given to me, certainly. But I think it’s important to say that everybody has a voice in the way that I look at government. Because you’re there to serve,” he told the paper.

Despite Sinquefield's generosity, Kander has raised more money than Schoeller, the paper reports, due in large part to contributions from trial lawyers and unions. And although he has more money and he met with Sinquefeld and thought he was a "nice man," Kander still has concerns about individuals almost entirely funding campaigns.

“Any time that someone who is one of the biggest customers of an office is bankrolling a candidate for that office, Missourians should take it into consideration when they vote," Kander told the Times.

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