Exclusive Audio: Missouri Legislators Conspire With National Agents to Plot Anti-Worker Attacks

Progress Missouri today released audio of a February 5, 2013 strategy session in the Missouri Capitol that featured speakers from corporate front groups, including Californian Lew Uhler of the National Tax Limitation Committee, Jared Rodriquez of the Western Michigan Policy Forum.  Discussion topics included:

  • Fundraising threats to Republican lawmakers who did not support the organizers’ extreme agenda
  • “Big money” coming into Missouri from unspecified national sources to finance anti-worker campaigns and candidates
  • Strategies for conducting public opinion research to help hoodwink Missouri voters into supporting policies designed explicitly to shrink the middle class and increase corporate power.

“What you’re doing here, what you’re part of here, is a national movement, and you’re well positioned to keep this battle alive,” said Lew Uhler of the California-based National Tax Limitation Committee, making it more apparent than ever that bills like ALEC’s so-called “right to work” proposal are being driven by national corporate agents, not Missourians. 

Moreover, the message to attendees was clear: pass the extreme bills, or your campaign accounts may dry up. “If you don’t take on the fights, and these guys that are giving money? I mean, this is just all basic 101 -- you’re going to start losing donors,” said Steve Hunter, former state legislator from Joplin.

Listen for yourself: 

As you can hear the audio link above, discussion topics included:

  • fundraising threats to Republican lawmakers who did not support the organizers’ extreme agenda
  • “big money” coming into Missouri from unspecified national sources to finance anti-worker campaigns and candidates
  • strategies for conducting public opinion research to help hoodwink Missouri voters into supporting policies designed explicitly to shrink the middle class and increase corporate power.

A few notable statements.  (These are quick transcripts.)

LEW UHLER, National Tax Limitation Committee

  • 13:15 “You’re sitting right in the middle of this nation, ground zero, the heartland, and you’ve got an issue like right to work that you can deal with. Concurrently, some of us, like Karlamine and others in your fair state, and others of us around the country, will be working to help you develop the very ground game that can challenge what has been going on by the other side. Finally people are recognizing that some early money and big money has to be employed now if we’re going to be competitive. And it is right here in your fair state where we can begin to develop quickly some of the very techniques and strategies that can help support you when you take on an issue of this kind, and refine your ability to sell and resell these issues in your own home districts, et cetera. So, that’s my simple message as an outsider, as a Californian who has helped to lead a couple of the paycheck protection initiatives... ”
  • 15:55 “What you’re doing here, what you’re part of here, is a national movement, and you’re well positioned to keep this battle alive.”

STEVE HUNTER former state rep from Joplin

  • 29:15: “If you look at the turnout, what, we have three million less voters? What’s happening is, is the Republican Party is not taking the fights, they’re not organized, they’re not taking on the fights. Okay? If you don’t take on the fights, and these guys that are giving money? I mean, this is just all basic 101 -- you’re going to start losing donors. Now, Holly, she probably raised her own money. A lot of y’all raise your own money. They money coming is for the last twenty [?]. Well, you’re not going to have money coming in for the last [inaudible]. You’re not going to have to protect them It’s not going to be there. So you gotta do big things.”

JARED RODRIGUEZ, Western Michigan Policy Forum

  • “Messaging and research is the absolute key, making sure all of the supporters of ‘freedom to work’ are all saying the same thing...It is about using the right language, right message.”

KARLADINE GRAVES, activist

  • 4:35 mark: “What we want to do is we want to make sure your backs are covered when it comes time for reelection. And that’s where we come in. To have the groundwork laid for you. So your backs can be covered.”

Reports from inside the room also indicate that former House Speaker Rod Jetton attended part of the meeting.

A full MP3 of the meeting may be downloaded here.