The Buzz

Dark money pouring into campaign to defend Missouri’s right-to-work law

Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens signed right-to-work legislation in February. It is scheduled to go into effect later this month.
Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens signed right-to-work legislation in February. It is scheduled to go into effect later this month. Missouri House Communications

Two nonprofits donated $600,000 Tuesday to political action committees working to protect a right-to-work law set to go into effect in Missouri later this month.

A Kansas City-based nonprofit called American Democracy Alliance donated $350,000 to a PAC called Liberty Alliance and $150,000 to a PAC called Missourians for Worker Freedom.

Gov. Eric Greitens’ nonprofit, called A New Missouri Inc., donated $100,000 to Missourians for Worker Freedom. Last month, A New Missouri Inc. gave the same PAC $250,000.

Because both American Democracy Alliance and A New Missouri Inc. are nonprofits, they are not required to disclose their donors. When contributions are routed through a nonprofit to a political campaign to hide the source of the donation, it’s referred to as “dark money.”

Eric Greitens' political career is intertwined with the rise of "dark money" in Missouri. This video was originally published May 24, 2017.

The contributions aim to stave off a union-backed effort to put Missouri’s right-to-work law on the 2018 ballot. Greitens signed the legislation in February. In right-to-work states, such as Kansas, employees in unionized workplaces can opt out of paying unions for the cost of being represented.

A PAC called We Are Missouri has been collecting signatures to ask voters next year if the law should be repealed. Its work is funded by a wide array of labor unions that have combined to chip in more than $1 million so far this year. The largest single donation came from the carpenters union, which donated $190,000 last month.

American Democracy Alliance was formed in 2007. Its president is John Elliot of Smithville, and its treasurer is longtime Jefferson City lobbyist Jewell Patek. It shares the same Kansas City address as Missouri GOP chairman Todd Graves’ law firm.

A New Missouri Inc. was founded in February by Greitens’ political team. Since then it’s spent hundreds of thousands of dollars promoting the governor and attacking his political enemies.

In addition to donating to Missourians for Worker Freedom, Greitens’ campaign finance director is helping raise money for Liberty Alliance. On Wednesday, the PAC got a $100,000 donation from Joplin businessman and GOP mega donor David Humphreys.

The governor of Missouri signed legislation enacting a "right-to-work" law on Monday, February 6, in Jefferson City.

Jason Hancock: 573-634-3565, @J_Hancock