The Buzz

KC streetcar opposition adds to campaign fund with donation from non-profit company


Opponents of the Kansas City streetcar proposal on the August ballot picked up another $18,700 Monday from Missourians for Responsible Government, the non-profit formed by local consultant Patrick Tuohey several years ago.

Tuohey has written several stories critical of the streetcar proposal for the Show-Me Institute, the group founded by retired St. Louis financier Rex Sinquefield.

But we don’t know if Sinquefield is a contributor to the non-profit — and therefore against the streetcar — because its donors need not be disclosed.

We’ve seen this tactic before, mostly notably in the 2011 referendum on the Kansas City earnings tax. There, a group called Freedom PAC was formed, eventually spending more than $500,000 in an unsuccessful campaign against the tax.

Much of that money came from the American Democracy Alliance, another secretive non-profit group.

The opponents’ group, SmartKC, has now raised $88,700 to date, including $50,000 from James Nutter.

ConnectKC, the pro-streetcar committee, has raised $50,000 to date.

As we pointed out Monday, though, the Kansas City-based Heavy Constructors have contributed $590,000 to the statewide transportation sales tax campaign.

If that tax passes — and the streetcar expansion is approved locally — some of the tax money will go for the mass transit project.