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Wealthy Missouri Senate candidate’s no-pay pledge may be illegal | Policy

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JEFFERSON CITY — A wealthy U.S. Senate candidate may have violated state election law by pledging to forfeit her congressional salary if she wins the race.

Trudy Busch Valentine, a Democrat seeking to replace Republican Roy Blunt in the Senate, issued a press release Wednesday saying she would not accept a salary if sent to Washington.

“All my life I have known that true meaning lies in service to others. That’s why I became a nurse serving the most vulnerable in our state,” Valentine said. “For me, public service is another way to give back. That’s why I pledge to receive no salary as a US senator.

But under state election law, candidates cannot promise to serve for “less than the salary” paid for the position as a “voter inducement.”

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“Under election law … it is a class 4 election offense for a candidate to make representations regarding the pay cut to attract votes,” said a spokesman for Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft, who oversees elections in Missouri.

The offense is classified as a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in prison or a fine of up to $2,500.

His campaign said Friday that it was not a violation.

“This law is specific to incentivizing someone to vote, not a press release that simply lays out Trudy’s plans,” campaign manager Alex Witt said.

Valentine, a first-time candidate who is the heiress to the Busch beer fortune, filed paperwork on Sunday as part of her bid for office showing she has a net worth of between $69.4 million. dollars and $219.4 million.

His annual income is listed between $4.3 million and $30.7 million.

Valentine’s one-fifth stake in Grant’s Farm, the family tourist attraction in southern St. Louis County where she grew up, is worth between $5 million and $25 million.

The record shows that Valentine holds much of her wealth in stocks, bonds and securities.

The personal financial disclosure form she submitted to the US Senate shows she owns $34 million in stock, including Google, Apple, CVS, Bank of America and General Motors. She has delegated control of her finances, including the shares she owns, to outside professional managers, a campaign spokesperson said.

She also owns a farm in Montgomery County, in the northern Rhineland.

Valentine is part of a large group seeking to replace U.S. Senator Roy Blunt, a Republican who announced his retirement last year. Other Democrats include Lucas Kunce and Spencer Toder.

Republicans seeking the seat include Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt, former Governor Eric Greitens, State Senate Speaker Dave Schatz, St. Louis attorney Mark McCloskey, and U.S. Representatives Vicky Hartzler and Billy Long.

Republican lawyer John Wood announced this week that he was mounting an independent bid for the office backed by former US senator Jack Danforth.

Valentine isn’t the only candidate planning to spend part of her fortune to get elected.

Schatz, a Sullivan businessman, previously made a $1 million loan to his campaign. Long, a Springfield auctioneer, invested $250,000 in his campaign.

Toder, a St. Louis businessman, has put up at least $240,000 in the race.

Along with promising not to take the Senate’s $174,000 annual salary, Valentine pledged to bar members of Congress from trading stocks while in office.

“No senator should be able to make money using inside information when they should be focused on serving the people who elected them,” Valentine said.

She and her husband, John Fries, plan to place their fortune in a blind trust if she wins.

Valentine, a registered nurse, is a family member who owned a majority stake in Anheuser-Busch until it was sold to InBev in 2008 for $52 billion.

In 2020, Forbes magazine listed the family’s overall wealth at $17.6 billion, making the Busches the 16th richest family in the country.

Valentine, 65, is the daughter of August “Gussie” Busch Jr., who died in 1989. Her mother, Gertrude Busch, was Busch’s third wife.

In 2019, St. Louis University School of Nursing was named in Valentine’s honor after donating $4 million to the school. She graduated from the school in 1980.

This isn’t the first time a candidate has found himself in hot water over a promise not to take a salary.

In 1990, officials cried foul over similar pledges from Joan Kelly Horn, a Democrat who challenged U.S. Representative Jack Buechner in the 2nd Congressional District, and State House candidate Martin “Bubs” Hohulin, a Republican. by Lamar.

Horn, who defeated Buechner but served only one term, promised to donate his share of a pay raise to social service organizations in his district.

During his campaign, Hohulin promised to use part of his salary to provide scholarships to students in his southwestern Missouri district. He was elected and served 13 years in the House.


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Summary of Trudy Busch Valentine Assets

Asset type Asset value . Revenue .
1/5 owner of Grant’s Farmh)Total Lower limit$5,000,001 $69,378,336 Upper limit $25,000,000 $219,420,000 Lower limit$0 $4,301,008 Upper limit$0 $30,674,000
Bank Deposit Heart 6 Ranch $1,001 $3,002,005 $15,000 $15,030,000 $0 $0 $0 $0
GF Holdings (retirement accounts and investment portfolios
Accounts Receivable $5,000,001 $25,000,000 $0 $0
Bank deposit and cash $349,010 $960,000 $0 $0
Corporate bond $115,002 $300,000 $1,001 $2,500
Shares $727,011 $1,580,000 $0 $0
ETFs $5,750,011 $26,500,000 $210,006 $1,030,000
Hedge funds $850,003 $1,750,000 $65,002 $150,000
Money market funds $1,650,004 $6,350,000 $65,002 $150,000
Municipal bond $8,580,046 $18,300,000 $269,147 $825,500
Mutual fund $3,727,032 $7,755,000 $269,717 $628,500
Store $34,278,199 $89,920,000 $3,484,531 $27,762,000