A funny thing happened on the way to the office the other day. Well, I wasn’t really on the way to the office since it is in Springfield; it’s merely a figure of speech. While in St. Louis City last Thursday, I stopped by the offices of the St Louis Post-Dispatch editorial board to give them information and knowledge about United for Missouri’s Future and United for Missouri.
When I say “funny” I don’t necessarily mean humorous, although at some points it was. By “funny,” I mean the entertaining and perhaps unintended revelation by the members of the mainstream media about what they really think about grass roots.
The editorial resulting from my visit was printed in Monday’s edition of the Post-Dispatch. Besides continuing their usual and inaccurate personal attacks on me, something you unfortunately get used to over a period of years serving in public office, and which have provided me a number of framed articles for my wall of honor, they reveal some very important beliefs that most of us knew existed but had no real proof, until now.
One revelation is that many members of the mainstream media — certainly many at the Post-Dispatch — make no distinction between private and public money. They are actually correct that it is all OUR money. However, they believe that private money and public money are the same. They think private money is just the money the government allows you to keep.
In our push to have more transparency of public money — that which is legally confiscated from our paychecks by some level of government — the Post-Dispatch believes that there is no difference between you spending your money as you wish and how your government spends your money. To the editors at the Post-Dispatch, the money is all the same and you have no right to privacy. Especially if you are giving to an “evil” organization that is for limited government!
The Post’s major problem, at least the one they were willing to put in print, is that when we receive donations from our members or other interested donors, we do not reveal the names or the amounts of the contributions.
Mr. Bearden vowed that his groups will be “focusing on state and local issues,” particularly the issue of “transparency.”
You read that correctly. This utterly opaque organization will focus on government transparency.
Our donors are free to self identify but we believe have an obligation to protect the privacy of our donors.
These donations are not “public” money legally confiscated from paychecks. They are given as a private choice by our members/donors and is not the business of government or the Post-Dispatch if members/donors do not wish to be identified.
It is, in fact, not money that the government lets us keep but it is OUR money to do with as we wish! The Post-Dispatch claims it is necessary to know who donates to “evil” limited government organizations like United for Missouri’s Future and United for Missouri (UFM/F). Their reasoning is that these donors are paying to influence public policy and should not be allowed to do so without the mainstream media knowing it!
They are under the delusion that donors to UFM/F are trying to circumvent campaign finance laws or other sinister motives. They believe that donors “create” organizations to hide money to achieve their sinister motives. I can’t speak for other organizations but I can speak for UFM/F. To use the vernacular of one of the U.S. Senate candidates, I’m just going to have to call “bull” on that one! Here are the facts presented to the editorial writer Thursday.
UFM/F was established for the sole purpose of assisting real people — the grassroots that the Post-Dispatch disparages as simply a “mailing list” even exist — to effectively impact their state and local governments and the federal government in the process. Our agenda and purpose are clearly reflected on our website, in our action alerts, our e-mail communications and a litany of other outreach devices.
We develop programs to implement the agenda and solicit financial support from our members and other interested donors. As long as I am executive director of United for Missouri’s Future and United for Missouri, we will never solicit or accept donations that violate our commitment to educate and mobilize citizens on how to make THEIR government more responsible to THEM.
After all that, the Post did get a couple of things correct.
Mr. Bearden is an affable and unapologetic soul.
Unapologetic especially when it comes to defending our members from liberal/progressives and their allies in the mainstream press!