MO Auditor Tom Schweich Dead at 54, Reports Suggest Suicide [UPDATED]

Categories: Politics

Missouri State Auditors office/UPI
Missouri auditor Tom Schweich.

Missouri auditor Tom Schweich died today in an apparent suicide inside his Clayton home. The Republican gubernatorial candidate was reportedly hospitalized for self-inflicted gunshot before official statements from his office confirmed his death.

"What we know at this point suggests an apparent suicide," Clayton Police Chief Kevin Murphy said during in a news conference this afternoon. He added that there is "nothing to support anything other than that at this point." He said Schweich died from a single gunshot wound.

According to the Post-Dispatch, a 911 call was placed from Schweich home at 9:48 a.m. reporting a gunshot wound. That was minutes after he'd left a voicemail with Post-Dispatch editorial page editor Tony Messenger requesting an interview in with one of the newspaper's reporters.

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Ferguson Protests and "Outside Agitators" Factor in Race for 15th Ward Alderman

Categories: Politics

Danny Wicentowski
15th ward Alderwoman Megan Ellyia-Green (holding mic) debated challenger Beth Branzell Wednesday night at the Royale. The two Democrats are facing off during the March 3 primary.
With St. Louis city's primary election less than a week away, candidates are rolling out their their juiciest negative ads to rally their backers and, they hope, to sway those last undecided voters. That's politics as usual.

But supporters of incumbent 15th ward Alderwoman Megan Ellyia-Green say challenger Beth Braznell's campaign has gone too far. For the past week, residents of the ward -- which includes Tower Grove South, Tower Grove East, and Tower Grove Heights -- have been finding flyers on their doorsteps that criticize Green's participation in protests on November 24. That night, hundreds of people marched along South Grand Boulevard after a grand jury chose not to indict former-Ferguson officer Darren Wilson for killing an unarmed black teenager.

Some of the flyers claim Green "openly embraced outside agitators and invited them into the ward" during the protests. In response, Green's supporters showed up to a Wednesday night debate wearing t-shirts bearing the words "Outside Agitator."

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Todd Akin Considers Running for Senate, Is Working on a Mysterious "Invention"

Categories: Politics

Todd Akin apologizes for his comments on "legitimate rape." He took the apology back in his book, published last year.
Todd Akin, the former Republican congressman who famously wrecked his 2012 Senate bid by taking an unintelligible stance on "legitimate rape," says he may challenge Senator Roy Blunt for his seat in 2016.

In an interview with U.S. political news site The Hill, the GOP pariah says he's considering another bid for the Senate.

"I have not ruled anything out," Akin told The Hill Wednesday.

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Bill Introduced To Release Jeff Mizanskey From Life Sentence for Marijuana Charges

Ray Downs
Jeff Mizanskey has languished in prison since 1993 for three nonviolent pot charges.
It's not every day that a Missouri lawmaker proposes a bill to free one man from prison.

This week, however, Republican representative Shamed Dogan did exactly that with House Bill 978, which would allow a parole board to release any prisoner serving a life sentence for nonviolent marijuana charges.

There's only one Missouri convict who fits that description: Jeff Mizanskey, a 61-year-old grandfather who has spent more than two decades behind bars because of the state's draconian three-strike law for drug crimes.

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Cynthia Davis Defends Catherine Hanaway's Ideas About Unwed Sex Leading to Child Porn

Cynthia Davis (in pink) agrees with Catherine Hanaway that unmarried sex is dangerous.
Amid the avalanche of scorn that followed GOP gubernatorial candidate Catherine Hanaway's speech on how slutty feminist culture leads to kiddie porn, an infamous former Missouri politician is now standing up to defend her.

No, not Todd Akin -- it's Cynthia "hunger can be a positive motivator" Davis.

Davis, you may recall, rose to national prominence in 2009 as a state representative when she questioned the need for summer food programs for children, arguing that hunger would probably motivate kids to get jobs at McDonald's. Yesterday, Davis sent out a newsletter praising Hanaway and calling her remarks "spot on."

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How a Missouri Republican Turned Opposition to the Affordable Care Act Into a Dick Joke

Categories: Politics

Missouri Representative Mike Moon.
The seven men and three women who represent Missouri in Congress just aren't hard enough for Republican state representative Mike Moon, apparently.

Moon wants Missouri's U.S. representatives and senators to repeal the Affordable Care Act and, in House Resolution No. 99 set for a hearing Tuesday, asks them to do so with "manly firmness:"

[W]e, the members of the Missouri House of Representatives, Ninety-eighth General Assembly, hereby insist that each member of the Missouri Congressional delegation endeavor with "manly firmness" and resolve to totally and completely repeal the Affordable Care Act, settling for no less than a full repeal.

Missouri's Congressional delegation includes three women: Senator Claire McCaskill, Representative Ann Wagner, who represents St. Louis County, and Representative Vicky Hartzler. But Moon tells the Columbia Daily Tribune he didn't mean for his archaic phrasing to demean Missouri's women lawmakers.

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Republicans' "St. Louis Resolution" Asks Presidential Candidates To Stop Gay Bashing

Categories: LGBT, Politics

david_shankbone via flickr
Meghan McCain, a pro-LGBT Republican and daughter of 2008 presidential nominee John McCain.
As the 2016 presidential race nears, three prominent Republicans who support LGBT rights hope a resolution signed in St. Louis will prevent candidates from using homophobic or gay-bashing rhetoric during the campaign.

Author and activist Meghan McCain told Washington University students Tuesday how two gay friends helped her through the difficult days after her father John McCain lost his 2008 bid for president.

"I just thought, if I can't follow up and give them the same love and support, then I can't live with myself," she said, according to Wash. U. student newspaper Student Life. She's been a gay-rights advocate ever since, even serving on the board of GLAAD, an LGBT media watchdog.

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ACLU: Bills Restricting Police Body Cam Footage Will Hobble Missouri Sunshine Law

Categories: Police, Politics

Danny Wicentowski
Some Ferguson officers began wearing body cameras in September, and more departments are embracing the new technology.
Not long after the fatal August 9 confrontation between Michael Brown and then-Ferguson cop Darren Wilson, protesters, along with the wider public, began demanding Missouri police wear body cameras. Advocates claimed the cameras would keep cops accountable, and the calls only grew louder after Wilson's non-indictment in November.

Now, nearly six months after Brown's death, Missouri lawmakers have turned those demands into several proposed bills. At the same time, the introduction of new technology has raised concerns about the cameras' impact on privacy and police procedure.

"It's a good tool, and any time you add a different evidence stream it needs to be protected," says Republican Representative Galen Higdon. Last week, he proposed a bill that would make footage from police body cameras and dash cameras "inaccessible to the general public."

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GOP Gubernatorial Candidate Says Abortions, Unwed Mothers Lead to Child Pornography

Catherine Hanaway is running for governor of Missouri.
Women's sexual autonomy leads to child pornography. That's the batshit crazy thing Missouri Republican (and a leading candidate for governor) Catherine Hanaway just said.

Hanaway, who was the first female speaker of the state House of Representatives, told attendees at the Educational Policy Conference that the liberal "culture of permissiveness towards sexual activity" puts America at risk of becoming a nation of child pornographers.

After all, Hanaway explains, if women are permitted to have sex (and even, gasp!, have children) without being married first, then it's only a matter of time before "every sexual preference" -- including child abuse, apparently -- "is acceptable."

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Woman Files Assault Complaint Against Police Union Rep Jeff Roorda After City Hall Brawl

Categories: Ferguson, Politics

via UStream
Jeff Roorda grabs Cachet Currie's arm as the scuffle begins.
The woman who says a St. Louis police union spokesman injured her during a public meeting about civilian oversight of the police department is filing an official assault complaint against him as her supporters ask him to step down.

Jeff Roorda, a former officer and Missouri representative who serves as the business manager for the police union, told the Guardian he won't apologize for grabbing and shoving Cachet Currie while attempting to push his way to the front of the city hall meeting. Roorda's actions, along with the "I Am Darren Wilson" bracelet he wore to the meeting, inflamed the already-tense hearing about police reform after the fatal shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson and led to a fifteen-minute skirmish in the meeting room.

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