Tag Archives: #YDMO2010

Senator Claire McCaskill at #YDMO2010

Here is Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill (D) speaking to me on April 17th at the 2010 Young Democrats of Missouri state convention in Springfield, Missouri. I’m especially proud that I have a senator who publicly commits to not earmarking (1:45).

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Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster speaks to #YDMO2010

I got this footage from a meet and greet with Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster at a Young Democrats of Missouri convention held last weekend in Springfield, Missouri. He discusses the impact the recession has had on hirings at the Attorney General’s office (since high end law firms aren’t hiring, the AG is now able to hire law grads from Harvard and other Tier 1 law schools) and also the efforts of Lieutenant Governor Peter Kinder to sue the federal government over healthcare reform. Koster makes the argument that Kinder doesn’t have standing to represent Missouri in the first place and that allowing random state officials to sue on behalf of the state leads to  anarchy in the courts, since there’s no mechanism to prevent different state officials from suing each other on behalf of the state of Missouri, which is what these kinds of lawsuits would turn into.

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Missouri State Auditor Susan Montee on civil asset forfeiture

I sat down with Missouri State Auditor Susan Montee last night and talked to her about her 2009 report on civil asset forfeitures in the state of Missouri. I’ll have more to blog about soon, but wanted to highlight a couple things I learned.

The reports she received from prosecutors around the state detailing the extent of civil forfeiture activities were a ‘mess’. Often the records are misplaced or lost or ineptly kept, making her job compiling the the information necessary for a report difficult. There also appears to be little or no oversight of ‘adoptive’ or ‘equitable’ forfeiture, a mechanism that state and local police in Missouri have used in the past to dodge state requirement that proceeds from forfeited assets be turned over to the general fund. The current law requires judicial approval when assets are transferred between state and federal authorities in equitable forfeiture and I think is limited to assets seized with help from the federal government, but I am unable to find evidence that this law is being properly followed or enforced. Indeed, the large amounts of money moved around in this way by Boone County, Laclede County, Butler County, and New Madrid suggest to me that police agencies around the state continue to use adoptive forfeiture to retain control of the proceeds from seized assets for their own purposes.

Missouri law also mandates that civil forfeiture also be accompanied by ‘criminal action’ to prevent innocent people from having their property seized. Unfortunately I don’t know if the descriptor of ‘criminal action’ is equivalent to a conviction; it is still possible to seize and keep property and file charges that are dropped while satisfying the requirement for ‘criminal action’. Of course, this is problematic.

I’ll have more soon; I’ll be meeting Montee again next week to cover the subject in more detail.

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I’m here in Springfield, Missouri, at the Young Democrats of Missouri 2010 convention with MU College Democrats Brian Roach, Iavora Vlaytcheva, Cassie Gray, Alanna Bauer, and Doug Cowing. I’ve had a number of very interesting conversations so far on the earnings tax debate in St. Louis and KC, unions, healthcare, financial system reform, and what incentivizes citizens to vote. The name Rex Sinquefield has come up more than once (I encourage people who are interested in his advocacy to read the wiki for Dimensional Funds Advisors, which I think contains many valuable insights). Tomorrow holds interviews with Missouri State Auditor Susan Montee, Missouri State Treasurer Clint Zweifel, as well as a couple other elected/electable people.

I hope to share some of these insights with readers soon in posts here. For now, I will remind my friends who have taken a  ‘hard science’ approach towards economics and the social sciences that there is much unexplored ground and my friends who have taken different educational routes that there is much to be gained from the rigorous (read: mathematical/statistical) study of systems and institutions.

For now, here is Missouri Democratic Party Chairman Craig Hosmer welcoming delegates.

Here is Dr. Michael Hoeman; he is running for Missouri’s 30th Senatorial District here in Springfield.