The Buzz

TheChat: Jason Kander touts work of new Elections Integrity Unit


Good morning.

▪ “In just over a year, my office has launched more formal elections investigations than any Missouri secretary of state in history because I want to ensure that every eligible Missourian has the right to cast a ballot, and that only eligible Missourians cast a ballot.” — Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander on the work of his office’s new Elections Integrity Unit.

Kander, a Democrat, is taking a page from Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach’s playbook, which is to get tough on voter fraud. To be sure, the similarities end there. Still, Kander wants to ward off any accusations from Republicans that he’s not doing all he can to ensure an above-board voting system. He said the unit responded to 97 complaints in its first year.

▪ “Elections are supposed to be battles of ideas, not playgrounds for wealthy special interests to buy the loyalty of politicians.” — Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill, a Democrat, speaking about a provision in the $1.1 trillion omnibus bill that provides new opportunities for the wealthy to influence elections. (link via

McCaskill opposed the bill in protest of the provision, which allows individuals to increase their donations to the national political parties by nearly 10 times. The new limit is $1.5 million every two years. The old limit: $194,400.

▪ “Near the end of my tenure I recommended to President Obama that he take another look at our embargo.” — Hillary Clinton writing about Cuba in her book Hard Choices.

The Washington Post pointed out Wednesday that Clinton is almost certain to support President Barack Obama’s push to normalize relations with Cuba based on her past statements. She wrote in the book that the embargo wasn’t achieving its goals. “It was holding back our broader agenda across Latin America,” Clinton wrote. “After 20 years of observing and dealing with the U.S.-Cuba relationship, I thought we should shift the onus onto the Castros to explain why they remained undemocratic and abusive.”

▪ “We will end an outdated approach that for decades has failed to advance our interests.” — Obama announcing his new policy towards Cuba in remarks Wednesday from the White House.

The GOP reaction was one of fury, with some labeling the move as appeasement.“It’s part of a long record of coddling dictators and tyrants that this administration has established,” Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida said on Fox News.