TARGET 8 fact checks Democrats' campaign claims against AG Hawley

5 months 3 weeks 2 days ago Wednesday, October 25 2017 Oct 25, 2017 Wednesday, October 25, 2017 7:06:00 PM CDT October 25, 2017 in Target 8
By: Alexis Reese, KOMU 8 Reporter
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JEFFERSON CITY – Democrats are ready to fight as a new U.S. Senator contender looks to take Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill’s spot.

Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley released a video announcing his run for U.S. Senate on October 9.

In the video, Hawley highlighted “the D.C. career crowd” and stated that McCaskill “turned her back on farmers” and that she “doesn’t represent us.”

The Missouri Democratic Party released a statement a day later saying: “Two months ago, Josh Hawley filed paperwork to run for United States Senate — and then lied to Missourians about it while he raised money behind closed doors with millionaires, DC special interests, and Republican leaders in Washington. It’s clear who Josh Hawley is running to represent in the United States Senate, and it’s not Missouri.”

Target 8 investigated the claim by looking at where Hawley's newly-raised campaign funding is coming from.

Donations reported to Missouri Ethics Commission nearly even from in-state and out-of-state funders; federally-reported fundraising largely from in-state donors

When calculating all quarterly reports submitted to the Missouri Ethics Commission for Missourians for Hawley, from January to October 2017, Hawley gained more than $630,000 in contributions from in-state donors and more than $530,000 from out-of-state donors. 

When looking at the quarterly report Hawley’s Senate exploratory campaign team submitted to the Federal Election Commission, Hawley raised more than $800,000. More than $600,000 came from Missouri contributors and $200,000 came from out-of-state contributors. Some of these donations came from big Missouri names such as David Humphreys and members of the Orscheln family. 

University of Missouri political science professor Marvin Overby said, though it is often portrayed negatively in campaigns, gaining just as many out-of-state contributions as in-state contributions is not necessarily problematic.

“It’s not clear to me that there is anything bad about money coming in from out of state,” he said, “although it is often phrased that way. There’s sort of the insinuation that there’s something untoward about it or something sort of, not quite above board about it.”

Hawley donors in 2017 include Microsoft and Tamko

In Hawley’s January report, he received contributions from big names like the Microsoft Corporation PAC, Home Depot Store Support LLC and Tamko Building Products just one month after winning the attorney general position. In the recently released October quarterly report, Hawley received money from a tobacco company called Cheyenne International, LLC.

Overby said companies and political action committees usually give money to candidates who have the same values. He said sometimes the public could misconstrue these contributions.

“The general public has this sense that politicians can be bought,” Overby said, “that their positions are up for sale. And that, I think, is not true.”

KOMU 8 News reached out to Hawley, and his spokesman Scott Paradise sent us a statement saying: “The Missouri Democrat Party is just flailing. First they tried to attack Josh Hawley for living with his family and now they are making up another story. We’ve filed all paperwork in accordance with FEC requirements. We issued a press release the day we filed the paperwork and all of it is available online. The Democrats are just desperate and I suppose it’s because they can’t find anything good to say about Claire McCaskill.”

The spokesperson who wrote the initial statement for the Democratic party did not return requests for comment or clarification.

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