Liberal John Danforth Pushes Schweich for U.S. Senate

Matt Lewis
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Posted: May 18, 2009 1:50 PM
Meet John Danforth, former Republican Senator from Missouri and diplomat in the George W. Bush administration. After leaving the Bush administration, he has made a career out of attacking conservatives and Republicans

He co-founded the Republican Leadership Council with Christie Todd Whitman to advance social liberals within the Republican Party. He also led the fight as honorary co-chair of the 2006 ballot initiative to support embryonic stem-cell research in Missouri.  You get the point. He’s not a conservative.

Earlier this year, Kit Bond retired as the senior senator from Missouri. And Danforth saw an opportunity to promote one of his proteges who is just like him.

Meet Danforth’s protege, Thomas Schweich. Schweich and Danforth were partners in the law firm Bryan Cave. When Danforth was appointed to Ambassador to the UN, Danforth brought Schweich along as his chief of staff. These days, Danforth and Schweich are flying around Missouri trying to line up support for a Schweich’s run:

Danforth said he was introducing Schweich as a potential candidate whom party activists, legislators and donors should consider. Schweich has served in a number of federal appointive posts. During President George W. Bush’s administration, he was the ambassador for counternarcotics and justice reform in Afghanistan. Schweich has never held elective office.

(Incidentally, isn’t it interesting that the UN experience isn’t mentioned in this story, nor the fact that they are business partners?)

Just as Danforth has attacked his party and not always been a loyal Republican, Redstate blogger BS has pointed out that Schweich gave money to current Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill when she was Missouri State Auditor:

In 2002, Schweich joined such conservative stalwarts as the Democratic State Committee, Laborer’s Local 579 and 676, AFSCME & AFL-CIO, and the Jackson County Democratic Committee in supporting… Claire McCaskill.  In 2002, McCaskill was the MO State Auditor and was beginning her quest for the nomination for the U.S. Senate seat of then-GOP Senator James Talent.  Schweich’s $500.00 donation to McCaskill is documented in the January 2002 report from “Friends of McCaskill” to the Missouri Ethics Commission (page 35).

Just to be clear, in December of 2001, he gave money to an incumbent Democratic official, 11 months before she ran for re-election. Schweich actually responded to this in the comments section:

I did give $500 to McCaskill when she was running for auditor in 2002. That year, the Republican party could not field a credible candidate and, I believe, eventually settled on a convicted felon as the nominee. While I am reliably Republican, our candidate must pass the laugh test first.

Now, first of all, I have been very disappointed with plenty of Republican candidates in the past. But that hasn’t meant that I have ever given the Democrat money. Furthermore, December of the year before an election is when you sign up as an early supporter, not to stop disaster. He signed on as part of the McCaskill team.

So here we have a liberal Republican who attacks Republicans more than Democrats promoting his former employee and business partner who had previously given money to Democrats. Speaking as a conservative, that’s not change I can believe in. 

By the way, to win the GOP nomination, Schweich will have to best U.S. Rep. Roy Blunt -- and possibly State Treasurer Sarah Steelman.