Turncoat Missouri state legislators slammed on anti-worker vote

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (PAI) — Missouri’s turncoat state legislators – four Republican representatives who voted against right-to-work in this year’s regular assembly session, then changed their vote to support a veto override of the anti-union, anti-worker legislation – each accepted from hundreds to thousands of dollars in voluntary campaign contributions from union members before showing their true colors.

“It’s the height of hypocrisy for these legislators to accept voluntary contributions from hardworking union members and then turn their backs on the members who made those contributions,” said Mike Louis, president of the Missouri AFL-CIO. “It’s unconscionable to think they would accept these contributions.”

One of the worst examples is Robert Cornejo of St. Peters – who not only accepted $6,300 in union campaign contributions, but bragged about it in a venomous e-mail exchange with a member of Bricklayers Local 1, who had e-mailed Cornejo’s office to chastise him for changing his vote.

“I received more in campaign contributions from the unions (who received out of state money from the National and International Brotherhoods) than any Koch money (zero),” Cornejo wrote, referencing the billionaire Koch brothers – right wing Kansas City oil barons-and their dark money political influence.

Cornejo’s campaign may not have received money directly from Koch brothers, but he certainly benefits from their money. The Koch-funded Americans for Prosperity (AFP) is advertising for Cornejo on KMOX radio asking listeners to “thank him” for turning his back on Missouri’s working families.

Despite Cornejo and the other three turncoats, enough Republicans stuck with workers – and all of the legislature’s Democratic minority – to uphold Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon’s veto of right-to-work, which workers and their allies call right-to-work-for-less.

These are the union contributions Cornejo accepted between July 8 and Sept. 14, two days before the veto session:

  • Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen – $300
  • Glaziers Missouri PAC – $1,000
  • Fire Fighters Local 2665 – $1,200
  • Missouri Fraternal Order of Police – $300
  • Missouri State Council of Fire Fighters $500
  • Teamsters Local 41, 54 and 618 – $500 each
  • Teamsters Local 688 – $1,500.

The next closest turncoat in taking union contributions and then voting to override the RTW veto was Rep. Dan Shaul, R-Imperial. He received a total of $2,600 in July and August from the very unions and union workers he voted against on Sept. 16:

  • Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen – $300
  • IBEW PAC – $300
  • Teamsters Locals 41, 541, 618 and 688 – $500 each.

In an act of purest deception, Rep. James Neely, R-Cameron, accepted a $750 donation from Sheet Metal Workers Local 2 on Sept. 15 – the day before he voted to override the governor’s veto. Combined with $300 Neely accepted from the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen, he received a total of $1,050 from unions.

And Rep. Randy Pietzman, R-Troy, accepted only one union contribution: $300 from the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen. That’s still too much considering his vote.

“It’s shameful,” the AFL-CIO’s Louis said. “These legislators should return these voluntary contributions to the hardworking union members.”

Tim Rowden is Editor, St. Louis Labor Tribune

Photo: St. Louis Labor Tribune, Facebook. 


Tim Rowden
Tim Rowden

Tim Rowden is an award-winning writer and editor with 25 years of progressive experience in daily, weekly and online journalism, media relations, and advocacy journalism, including editor of the St. Louis/Southern Illinois Labor Tribune, and reporter and bureau chief for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.