Hennessy's View

Domine, non sum dignus

Some Thoughts on Tom Schweich

Excerpts from past posts on Hennessy’s View about Tom Schweich

“Integrity” is the first word I think of when trying to describe Tom Schweich.

Rock n Roll Lunch

We met for lunch on a hot day in April 2010. I expected a typical GOP establishment hack: smooth, overly friendly, defensive, and forgettable. I expected the man others told me to expect. But I met someone very different.

How different? That lunch ended listening to his band’s recording of their original rock song. We were sitting in Tom’s car in the parking lot at Lamp and Lantern Village. The car was suffocating, but the music was great.

“Reminds me of the Rolling Stones,” I said.

“I love the Rolling Stones,” Tom shot back. Beamed back. “They’re a big influence.”

Of all the many politicians I met in 2009 and 2010, none stood as distinctly as Tom Schweich. Most of my friends adamantly opposed him, of course, preferring his competitor Allen Icet. While Icet garnered the full support of the tea party movement in Missouri, Schweich’s support–financial support in particular–came from Sam Fox, John Danforth, and others in the intellectual Republican world.

Schweich addressed his donors head-on and before I asked. “I am one-hundred percent completely pro-life,” he told me. “I disagree with my donors on many issues, including pro-life, and they don’t expect me to change my position. Because I won’t.”

Lincoln Days

I kept in touch with Auditor Schweich after he became auditor. We meet occasionally for lunch. Our conversations usually touch on politics, but only briefly. Literature, business, and music consume most of our talks.

I hadn’t seen Tom for a few months before Lincoln Days in St. Louis in 2013. On opening night, Auditor Schweich gave a speech that several of my friends found disturbing. Schweich urge all center-right people to look for common ground we could take together. He asked the Republicans assembled to give their fellow conservatives the benefit of the doubt and a little slack.

Again, work kept me from the Friday night opening events, but arrived early on Saturday. I made a point to say “hello” to the Auditor, but he saw me before I saw him. He was on me in a second.

“Listen, Bill, I might have some things last night that you might not like. I wanted to tell you about it myself.”

Different. Other politicians who’ve said things I might not like simply dodged me. Not Tom. As with the Danforth thing, he addressed this issue head on and directly with me. If his words had disappointed me, his courage and straight talk immediately won me back. I’d rather deal with a politician who honestly and openly disagrees with me than with a politician who says one thing and does another.

Auditor Schweich’s Municipal Courts Project

In November, State Auditor Tom Schweich announced the Municipal Courts Project. The Auditor will audit 10 municipalities suspected of violating state limits on fines from traffic tickets. Missouri law requires cities to forfeit to the state revenues from traffic tickets that exceed 30 percent of total revenue.

On to November [2010]

Tom Schweich took a lot of heat during the primary, but no one challenged his credentials for Missouri Auditor.  I was personally skeptical of Tom before I met him.  His only public service involved foreign service, working for the State Department at the UN and in Afghanistan. When we met for lunch, my doubts about his fitness for Auditor quickly disappeared. In fact, I got the sense that it was all Tom could do to restrain himself from running over to the bar and balancing the cash drawer. He has a lifetime of experience overseeing various kinds of corporate audits and criminal financial investigations.

Today

                       
Rest in peace, good and faithful servant.


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