May 1, 2018

911 words 5 mins read

Missouri Crimes

Missouri Crimes

Scott Faughn’s name came up in conversation last week.

“What’s this Faughn guy’s role in the Greitens' investigation?” someone asked.

Faughn is the publisher of Missouri Times and a former mayor of Poplar Bluff, Missouri. Papers call him a “power broker.” Others call him the “Candy Man.”

I didn’t understand the question. “Not sure,” I said. “His paper hates Grietens, but that’s as much as know. And I’ve been to his weird, hidden party pad in Jefferson City.”

The Party Pad

Faughn’s home is a party pad. It’s a second story job, dominated by a bar and party center. Scott will fix you anything you want. I didn’t see him drink, but he knew how to mix. “Anything you like,” he said when I asked for a beer. He handed me a Bud Light.

“How much?” I asked. 

“On me,” he said.

A friend told me Scott holds these parties frequently during the legislative sessions from January to May every year. They’re attended by Jefferson City power brokers. Legislators, executive department big shots, lobbyists, donors. Name a role in big-time politics, and it’s represented at Scott Faughn’s parties. Completely bipartisan, but the crowd on the night of Eric Greitens’s inauguration leaned Republican. Everybody who’s anybody has been to Faughn’s, even a nobody like me. 

“I thought we were going to a bar,” I said, questioning the free-booze policy.

“It’s his house,” my friend said. “He lives here.” 

My friend had warned me before we went in and up the narrow, dark stairs, to keep conversations to “small talk.”

“I think he liquors people up and gets his news stories when they talk too much,” my friend said.

It made no sense. Until the free booze thing.

I remembered that. I kept the talk small. I talked mostly to people in their twenties. They’re less likely to have an agenda.

On the way out, I saw a small bedroom with a single twin bed. It really was Scott’s home.

The Opposite of Hush Money

If the the press got it right today, Scott Faughn, it seems, was the bagman for powerful corporations who survive on tax credits and other handouts from the Missouri government. 

Eric Greitens campaigned mostly on cleaning up the tax credit mess in Jefferson City. Everybody thought it was just a campaign promise. But it wasn’t. Greitens was serious. He cut over $150 million in tax credits his first year. That created enemies. Enemies who consider taxpayers' dollars their own.

Scott Faughn paid $50,000 cash to attorney Al Watkins. A lot of people think that money went to “encourage” witnesses in the case.

Today, the Missouri Supreme Court denied Watkins' desperate attempt to quash the sources of two $50,000 cash (bribes?) payments to a witness’s attorney in the Greitens criminal case. One of the bagmen was Faughn. The other Watkins claims to know only as a courier named “Skyler.”

The House Committee

All five Republicans on the House committee investigating Eric Greitens are retiring from the legislature this year. All five are in line for lobbying jobs or “government relations” work with corporations that live on tax credits and other government handouts.

Governor Greitens has threatened lawmakers' ability to get cushy lobbying jobs after leaving the legislature. So all 5 Republicans on the committee have an axe to grind.

It would be shocking if all five haven’t been to Faughn’s party pad many times during their eight years in Jefferson City. It’s just where you go after hours. Like a roadside attraction where travelers go to see how the money gets laundered.

Jay Barnes (R), Don Phillips (R), Kevin Austin (R), Jeanie Lauer (R), and Shawn Rhodes (R). These are the five Republicans doing their donors (and future employers?) bidding. Their job was to overturn the 2016 election.

This corrupt committee (with an axe to grind) has subpoenaed Scott Faughn. They want to know where he got (their?) the money. Should be a fair and honest hearing, don’t you think?

Get Back to Work

I am too old and jaded to believe the crooks with Missouri Legislature license plates will be punished for their crimes. They won’t be.

Scott Faughn won’t do time for carrying the bag.

Al Watkins won’t lose his law license. 

All I can hope for is that the Missouri Five will realize their reputations are in the tank and give up the witch hunt. 

Like I said yesterday, this isn’t about any of them. It’s about us. The people who build the roads and pay the taxes while fat cats in Jefferson City dream up plots to deny us our vote and to undo past elections they didn’t like. So they can get our tax dollars for nothing. 

Jefferson City, and the whole state of Missouri, is a corrupt mess with failing schools, crumbling roads, and crooked politicians. What we learned this week is that, despite his errors, Eric Greitens might be the only clean politician in Missouri .

In the end, sloppy Scott Faughn was nothing more than a bagman for the people with money and power and wanting more of both. They used him well. They’re done with him now. 

Someone  will take Faughn’s place, doing the dirty work of the elitists. Maybe one of the Missouri Five on the House committee to overturn the election. Maybe someone else.

But the governor continues to do the people’s work. And we continue to bring better people to office. Stay strong, my friends. Stay strong.