At the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, state health officials met behind closed doors and refused any and all requests from the media, about the E. coli outbreak that has hospitalized at least nine people in the St. Louis metro area.
This rare strain of E. coli is being called "one of the top three most serious strains," by St. Louis County Health Department Spokesman John Shelton.
At least 22 people have been sickened by the E. coli virus - 16 of them in St. Louis County.
Still, state health officials refused to talk about the virus facing St. Louis - except for a press release that says the department is "dispatching additional investigators as more food borne illness cases are reported." The press release also said scientists from the Federal Center for Disease Control and Prevention will be arriving in the area by the end of the day Saturday.
The Federal Center for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC, is sending scientists to St. Louis to deal with the E. coli outbreak in the area.
A press release from the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services says the scientists will arrive within the next 48 hours. The release also says the state has begun testing 16 specimens reported to contain E. coli.
Health officials urge anyone who is experiencing gastrointestinal symptoms, including sever stomach cramps, diarrhea or nausea, should seek medical attention.
The Missouri National Guard has worked aggressively since 9/11 to improve its suicide prevention and employment programs for its 11,000 deployed troops.
Twenty-nine Missouri National Guard members have committed suicide out of the 11,000 deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan since 9/11.
To improve suicide prevention, the Missouri Guard is focusing on the education of the troops' families and friends on the signs and symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder and depression.
Missouri National Guard Lieutenant John Quin says the Missouri Guard also has a suicide prevention office and marital and other relationship programs.
A recent study shows 11.7% of 9/11 veterans are unemployed and the Missouri National Guard is adjusting programs to help them.
To better employment rates, the Missouri National Guard offers two programs to ease the transition from deployment to civilian life.
One program created by Governor Jay Nixon in 2010 helps veterans find jobs.
The other program aids troops with resume writing and interview training.
The House Interim Committee on Government Oversight and Accountability is appointed to conduct an independent investigation into Mamtek's default while a Senate committee has been looking into the same situation since October 6, 2011.
The chair of the House committee Jay Barnes said the the committee will start its focus from the minute Mamtek made contact with somebody in the state government until now.
"We want to know everything that happened in between and to figure out if something went wrong. If there was something that could have been avoided, and if so, figure out how we avoid that happening ever again," said Barnes.
The committee will ask for documents from the Department of Economic Development related to Mamtek and its contact with the state of Missouri.
Barnes said the committee will also ask questions about other large tax credits programs that work ok by the department to double check and see whether jobs promised have been delivered.
Meanwhile, the chair of the Senate committee Jim Lembke said the Senate committee is still waiting on receiving documents it has requested. Lembke said the committee may receive the documents next week.
Barnes said the House committee may schedule a hearing in mid November.
The St. Louis County Health Department reported 14 cases of E. coli in the St. Louis area. The Health Department spokesman, John Shelton, told Missouri Digital News, "There are more than 700 strains of E. coli and this is one of the top three most serious strains."
"We are continuing our investigation and waiting for test results and lab results and conducting interviews with perspective victims and patients," said Shelton.
Shelton said the Health Department is not sure where the E. coli strain is coming from, but the Department is continuing to investigate the cause.
Symptoms of this E. coli include severe dehydration; diarrhea, kidney damage.
Shelton said one likely cause is from meat and some produce in supermarkets.
According to the National Centers for Disease Control an estimated 70,000 people in the U.S. become ill each year from E. Coli 0157-H7.
Governor Nixon closed a trade agreement with China Wednesday that would increase Missouri exports by $100 million of over the next three years. In addition, officials from Hebei, Missouri’s sister province, have agreed to work with the Missouri Department of Economic Development to manage $100 million in investments from Chinese businesses.
This week, Nixon has been in China leading a delegation of Missouri business and agricultural leaders to negotiate with China on trade deals. On Monday, Nixon announced a $4.4 billion export agreement with the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade.
Nixon said in a press release, "this trade mission is delivering tangible results for Missouri businesses and helping them open new doors in the Chinese market. We're also laying a solid foundation for continued growth in the years to come."
The next stop for Nixon and his delegation is Shanghai.
Top Democratic legislative leaders challenged Republicans in the statehouse on Wednesday to get serious about passing legislation to create new jobs.
Republicans, who have made up a majority of both chambers since the November 2010 election, came into office last year fired up about creating jobs in Missouri. However, they have yet to facilitate a jobs plan making it to the governor's desk in either the regular or special legislatives sessions this year.
"The Republican-controlled General Assembly lost yet another chance to address the most important issue facing the state, and GOP legislative leaders lost their credibility," said Democratic Floor Leader Rep. Mike Talboy, D-Jackson County.
More than 14 Democratic lawmakers called on the Republicans to begin passing bills when the regular legislative session begins in January.
The Missouri National Guard will see changes in troop deployment following President Barack Obama's announcement that he plans to withdraw all troops from Iraq.
Currently, the Missouri National Guard doesn't have any soldiers stationed in Iraq, but a Black Hawk helicopter unit had planned on deploying there this December.
The unit, Company C 1st Battalion 106th Aviation Regiment, will still be deployed. But
public affairs officer for the Missouri National Guard, Maj. Tammy Spicer, said her office doesn't know yet where the unit will go.
According to Spicer, the Missouri National Guard has almost 1,000 soldiers and airmen stationed in Afghanistan, Egypt and Qatar.
At the same time the Missouri legislators killed the plan to encourage trade with China from Lambert-St. Louis International Airport, a St. Louis-based coal company announced its plan of expanding its trade with China and other countries.
The world's largest private-sector coal producer, Peabody Energy Corporation, will become the only acquirer of Australia's major coal supplier, Macarthur Coal.
The acquisition deal came after steelmaker ArcelorMittal pulled out of its partnership with Peabody to buy the Australian mining company.
Although the Peabody's executives are not available for interviews, its chief executive officer Gregory Boyce said in an announcement that the acquisition will give the company access to the highest growth coal markets to serve increasing demand for coal in the Asia-Pacific region.
Boyce also said in the announcement the investment continues the company's global market focus and increases profits made from international assets.
The company said it would increase the offer to 16.25 Australian dollars per share if it could secure 90 percent of Macarthur's stock by Nov. 11, though it is possible the deadline could be extended. The investment is only a midway point in the company's plan.
According to the announcement, the company has built a relationship with a coal company in Mongolia to market coal in China and the Asia-Pacific region. The company also plans to develop a mine in the Xinjiang Province in China.
One member of the Missouri Health Insurance Pool confirmed the board of directors for the group will meet Thursday to discuss a federal health care exchange.
State Sen. Rob Schaaf, R-St. Joseph, said the board should not accept these grants because it is out of their hands.
"It is beyond their scope, and they should not be doing that," Schaaf said.
Schaaf said the Senate would most likely stop an exchange from taking place.
"There's probably enough will in the Senate to block any legislation that would back the exchange," Schaaf said.
One month ago, lawmakers rushed to a Missouri Health Insurance Pool board meeting to stop a vote that would accept $21 million in federal grants to set up an exchange to implement President Barack Obama's federal health care plan in Missouri.
The differences between Missouri House of Representatives and Senate have finally brought the major economic development bill lawmakers were assigned to pass and the special session to an end.
Only two senators were in session Tuesday: Senate President Pro Tem Rob Mayer, R-Dexter, and Senate Majority Floor Leader Tom Dempsey, R-St. Charles. The entire session lasted less than a minute.
The tax credit reform that Gov. Jay Nixon said was "essential" to the state didn't pass, even though legislators said the bill was a sure thing to pass in July. Mayer said the biggest stake into the heart of the bill was the "irreconcilable" differences between the Republican-controlled House and Senate.
"The crux of the problem or the issue is sunsets and seven-year sunsets," Mayer said after adjourning the Senate.
The House did not want termination dates on tax credits because representatives thought they gave the Senate too much power. The Senate said there was no chance of a bill passing without those sunsets. The proposed bill would have reduced Missouri's existing tax credits, but would have added tax incentives for a China Hub at Lambert-St. Louis International Airport, amateur sports events, computer data centers and other businesses.
Mayer said Missouri lawmakers will take another look at those issues during the regular session, which starts in January. Although the House still has a technical session scheduled and hasn't permanently adjourned yet, it couldn't pass the bill even if it wanted to because the Senate has physical custody of the bill.
Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon announced on Monday a deal with Chinese officials to "aggressively pursue and expedite the completion of export transactions to the People's Republic of China" totaling $4.4 billion, according to the official document. The statement of intent commits the Missouri Department of Economic Development and the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade to working together in order to determine what specific trade and investment activities will take place.
The document outlines several obligations, including exchanging information and facilitating "business matchmaking services," and to "generally advance the promotion of trade and investment between the state of Missouri and the People's Republic of China."
Nixon, who's currently in Beijing, said he closed the deal during his trip despite concerns voiced by the Chinese regarding the legislature's failure to agree on the St. Louis trade hub.
"The topic [of the China hub] came up a couple of times but not as a centerpiece of any of the agreements we were involved with," Nixon said.
The China hub bill, which Nixon included in his call for the special session, created incentives to encourage an international trade hub at Lambert-St. Louis International Airport. The bill has made little progress but was previously touted by Nixon as something that would greatly encourage expanded trade with China.
The Missouri House of Representatives passed a constitutional amendment in a special session hearing Tuesday to create a new tax credit review process voted by both the House and Senate.
Under the new tax credit review process, it allows the General Assembly to review the tax credit programs every four years instead of six years applied by sunsets.
The Senate is in favor of sunsets, but Rep. Ryan Silvey, R-Kansas City, said it is unfair that one person can in effect kill a program.
"We should not allow one senator to filibuster a renewal if a program comes to an end on a certain date and it needs to be authorized for renewal," Silvey said. "We don't believe that one senator should have the power to in effect kill a program that takes a majority of senators to create in the first place."
House Speaker Steve Tilley, R-Perryville, said: "What the Senate did is they took almost all the provisions that we all liked out and put in some provisions that they knew we didn't like, like the Compete Missouri, and then said, 'By the way, you needed to live up to your end of the deal.'"
Tilley said the House never wanted to break one provision of their deal but that it is the Senate who broke the deal.
Although the House passed the proposed amendment in the hearing, the senators show no intention of returning to the state Capitol to discuss it with the House and vote on it. Tilley said the House didn't have sufficient discussion with Senate President Pro Tem Rob Mayer, R-Dexter, and he said he thought Mayer didn't do what he should do.
The time period for the special session is 60 days, but after 45 days of debate, the House and Senate still haven't come to an agreement on the bill. With just 15 days left to a Nov. 5 deadline, the House and Senate might end up in a stalemate with no legislation passed. Tilley said if the Senate doesn't want to conference with the House, there is nothing else the House can do.
While legislators continue stalling on the tax breaks for a China air cargo transport hub in St. Louis, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon will spend a week in China as part of a business trade mission. Nixon will be joined by a slew of officials, including state Rep. Jason Kander, D-Kansas City.
Although Kander said he doesn't know why he is invited by the Governor's office to the trip, his objective is to do everything he can to increase the sale of Missouri products -- and he said the failure of the China hub bill won't affect the trip.
"It's just one of the extra tools in the tool box," Kander said. "With or without it, I think it's a very worthwhile trip."
Kander said the trip is a good opportunity to advertise Missouri products.
"There's a wide range of products that we want to discuss with the Chinese that we think they should purchase from right here in the state," Kander said.
He said increasing Missouri exports in China will add more job opportunities for the local workers.
On the House floor Thursday, Rep. Chris Kelly, D-Columbia, said the Senate is not following through on their legislative obligations as lawmakers.
"The only people who are unwilling to come to the table are the people in the Senate," Kelly said. "Mr. Speaker, it is an abdication of their obligations under oath of office. It is not good, and we should not encourage it by backing down."
Representatives voted to take the China hub legislation to conference and say they will continue working pass it.
Senate leaders said they have no intention of bringing members back to special session to debate the issue.
As the special session ekes on, so does the life of the China hub economic development bill.
In its annual ranking scorecard, the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy ranked Missouri 44th in energy efficiency.
The council looks at six areas related to energy efficiency to put forth these rankings.
Research manager for the council determining rankings, Maggie Molina, said Missouri does well when compared to other states in state government initiatives but lags behind top-ranked states in all other areas.
In a study completed earlier this year, the council found Missouri could save more than $6 billion and create around 8,500 local jobs if the state adopted new energy efficient policies.
Vice chairman of the Special Standing Committee on Renewable Energy, Rodney Schad, R-Versailles, said Missouri must do something to improve these rankings.
"That's not good news. If it's true and the ratings are correct, I think it's time we get busy and try to come up with some energy efficiency ideas," said Schad.
The committee did not meet during special session because energy efficiency was not on Gov. Jay Nixon's agenda.
Although Schad said he is unaware of specifics, the Special Standing Committee on Renewable Energy has two or three ideas for energy efficiency improvement and will work on those when regular session begins in January.
The Missouri House of Representatives unanimously passed a resolution Thursday to continue to fund Boeing's F-18 fighter jet program, but just last week, the House majority voted to support Lockheed Martin Corp., Boeing's Texas-based competition.
While discussing last week's resolution on the House floor, Majority Leader Tim Jones, R-Eureka, said he skimmed it.
"It was about jets, it was about jobs, it was about the Missouri economy. So I think it’s unfair to criticize those of us that don't have that inside baseball knowledge," Jones said.
Boeing generates $1 billion for the state each year and employs 15,000 workers in the St. Louis area.
"I love military fighter jets; you know, the more the merrier," Jones said.
The total number of confirmed cases of listeria, which most often causes fever and flu-like symptoms, has risen to five in Missouri.
The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention informed the Department of Health and Senior Services Thursday of the additional case.
According to the CDC, unsanitary conditions at Jensen Farms in Colorado caused the bacteria to contaminate the cantaloupes.
The five people who consumed the contaminated cantaloupe were hospitalized. One of the five has died; according to local media, the cause of death is not linked to listeriosis.
Nationwide, there have been 126 reported cases and 25 deaths. The FDA released an environmental assessment of reasons why the outbreak started in Jensen Farms. The assessment identified a couple of factors contributing to the outbreak, one of them being the facility design.
State and local health officials in Missouri continue to look for contaminated cantaloupe being sold.
The CDC has said to avoid cantaloupe with a green and white sticker that reads: Product of USA- Frontera Produce-Colorado Fresh-Rocky Ford-Cantaloupe, or a gray, yellow and green sticker that reads: Jensen Farms-Sweet Rocky Fords.
At a Capitol news conference, Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder criticized Gov. Jay Nixon's administration for acting too slowly on resolving the SynCare issue.
Kinder blamed Governor Nixon for the backlog of Missourians still waiting to receive state approval for in-home medical care after the state cut ties with SynCare.
Nixon's spokesman Scott Holste refused to give a reaction to Kinder's criticisms.
"The reaction is I'm referring you over to the Department of Health for an explanation on how the backlog is being reduced and what they're doing about it," said Holste.
But a Health Department representative declined to answer any questions when contacted, and Director Margaret Donnelly was not available.
During Gov. Jay Nixon's visit to Kansas City Tuesday Nixon announced he is leaving for China on October 21st.
While in China the Governor says he plans to close deals between Missouri businesses and Chinese buyers.
This announcement comes one day after China-hub legislation died in the special session. The piece of legislation called for tax incentives to China-hub investors for warehouses in St. is as well as creating an international hub at an unused Lambert Airport terminal.
Though legislation supporting Chinese trade and exports to China died, Nixon is still traveling to China to close on trade deals.
Nixon's administration is confident that Chinese buyers will follow through on contracts despite the failed legislation.
His spokesperson said that Missouri's products are in high demand world wide regardless of legislature backing the trade plan.
During an Interim Committee of Criminal Justice hearing, almost half a dozen families told similar stories about how their lives were ruined due to the current sexual offender registration system.
One woman, Pam Baumstark, spoke on behalf of her son, Zach, who was arrested by federal agents on child pornography charges, which led to his eventual death.
When Zach was just fourteen years old, he and some of his friends were interested in sex. Baumstark says that being teenagers, they chose to download some sexual videos on-line of girls that were the same age as them. That website was monitored by an agency that had downloaded child pornography in hopes of attracting sexual predators. Four years later, Zach faced the harsh realities of his mistakes.
"It wasn't until two months after Zach turned 18 that the St. Charles County Police were at our door to confiscate his computer," Baumstark said. "The police questioned Zach with no lawyer present."
After weeks of the special legislative session, a wide-ranging tax credit reform bill was unable to pass through the Senate Monday.
Representative John Diehl, R-St. Louis County, said he had hoped the Senate would have considered going into a joint conference committee to forge a compromise, saying the House was "ready and able" to do so.
Talks over the legislation ground to a halt over the Senate's call for seven-year termination dates on the tax breaks.
Senate President Pro-Tem Rob Mayer says Monday's actions by the Senate have effectively killed the legislation, however he did not rule out the possibility of similar legislation reaching the legislature during the 2012 regular session.
Missouri Auditor Tom Schweich said he will have legislation letting him look further into the practices of the state Division of Finance.
Representative Sue Allen, R-St. Louis County, will file the legislation on his behalf.
Schweich held a news conference Tuesday announcing the move, which comes after the Missouri Bankers Association took legal action against the auditor for investigating what Schweich called "critical oversight" of the state's banking sector.
When the Magic City Moberly was trying to create 600 jobs through the Mamtek company, it wouldn't have expected it came with hope but left with despair.
Former Mamtek CEO Bruce Cole promised to bring the project back to life through a new American Sucralose Manufacturing Inc. based in Dallawell.
Cole promised a payment of 250,000 dollars but only paid 45,000 dollars.
The Finance Director of Moberly, Greg Hodge, said he has confirmed with the Bank of New York Wire Department that the rest of the payment of $205,000 was returned to Hong Kong because of a wrong routing number in the international transaction. Hodege said he was expecting to receive the money when China's week-long holiday was over.
However, Hodge's hope soured the following week, when he said in an email that he "will be making no further comments about the situation."
Moberly's City Manager Andy Morris said he doesn't have any insights at this time. He is simply waiting for the money.
As of late last week, Moberly still has not received the payment.
Mamtek solicited money from Chinese investors by promising foreign visas. The EB5 visa program provides long term visa to foreigners who invest 500 thousand dollars in a U.S. development project.
A China-based firm Well Trend reported to the Columbia Daily Tribune that four Chinese investors have already put up two million dollars in the project.
The project's failure also has led to a downgrade of the city's credit rating from A to B. That means the city's future borrowing costs are likely going up, and the value of the bonds to investors has gone down.
Columbia Republican Senator Kurt Schaefer said the result is damaging the local economy.
Missouri Senate Governmental Accountability Committee is investigating the issue.
The Department of Economic Development is required to provide all the documents on the issue.
Governor Jay Nixon's administration awarded a one-million dollar state loan to Wi-Fi Sensors in 2009 to launch its manufacturing company in Missouri.
But the company missed its first payment on the loan back in November of 2010.
The company planned to produce transmitters that could be attached to remote devices and report conditions of those devices back to a central computer.
The company promised 40 new jobs and over four million dollars in private investments.
But the company has only created 15 to 20 for a short period of time.
The company has left the town of Kirksville without any jobs created and with an abandoned facility with its space now leased to Hollister Incorporated from whom the company bought the building in 2009.
In an e-mail response to questions, Wi-Fi Sensors Chief Operating Officer David Fuhr wrote they remain optimistic that one of the many defense department contracts they are relying on will land to help them with employment.
The Kirksville community is disappointed about the outcome of the project.
Director of Job Creation Phil Tate says his department wants to see taxpayer dollars used wisely and it is a disappointment when they are not.
The one-million dollar loan came from a state grant program.
Tate says this type of loan can be faulty since it is a high-risk federal fund taken from Missouri housing and urban development.
Wi-Fi Sensors Founder Peter Fuhr wrote in an e-mail they are fully aware of their delinquency in the loan payment and are working with the Economic Development Department to work out a solution.
Peter Fuhr wrote on an e-mail message to St. Louis state Senator Joseph Keaveny they have pumped close to four million dollars of money into the company.
A state Senate committee launched an investigation on Wi-Fi Sensors' default on the loan.
Director of the Missouri Department of Health and Senior services did not respond to charges that her department is putting the lives of Missouri’s elderly in danger.
This comes after Lieutenant Governor Peter Kinder publicly called on the Nixon Administration to act now in a health care crisis for Missouri’s senior citizens.
This crisis stems from the Department of Health and Senior Services privatizing in-home health care after the state canceled it's contract with Syncare, the company originally hired to perform these assessments.
The privatization of these health care services means that assessments for health care are taking much longer than they previously did.
Patients used to be able to go through their private health care providers to get these assessments, which then were submitted to the Department of Health and Senior Services, but now the Department is hiring temporary workers to complete assessments.
“Only 400 of 1,000 patients on the critical needs list have been assessed, that’s in 48 days. That means that there are 600 seniors in critical condition, who have been waiting for months for assessment for care who have not even been looked at,” said Kinder.
Diane Noah, Executive Director for HomeCare of Mid-Missouri urges the government to go back to the old way of assessments.
Private health care companies are not only able to do assessments, but it’s something they’ve always done.
It is unknown how many backlogged assessments still exist, but in September there were nearly 10,000 cases.
Kinder along with Senator Bob Dixon R-Springfield and Representative Tom Long R-Springfield stressed the importance of acting now, instead of waiting for regular session in January.
The Department of Health and Senior Services hired temporary employees in September to complete backlogged assessments, which is costing taxpayers an additional $8 million this year.
The governor’s office would not comment on the issue, instead directing questions to the Spokesperson for the Department of Health and Senior Services.
With little discussion and no opposition, Missouri's Senate refused to agree to a conference with the House on the main issue of the special session, business tax breaks for business and development of the "China hub."
The chamber subsequently adjourned with no plans to bring the full Senate membership back before the session must end Nov. 5.
Technically, the Senate rejected the House version and asked the House to accept the Senate's approach that includes termination dates for other tax breaks. The Senate did not include in its motion a customary request for a House-Senate conference committee to negotiate the differences.
In a short explanation to his Senate colleagues, Senate President Pro Tem Rob Mayer described the differences between the two chambers as "irreconcilable."
The House, later this week, could pass the Senate version.
But Senate leaders described that as unlikely given the House opposition to some of the Senate provisions. And in a later response to a reporter's question, Mayer said that it would be accurate to describe the bill as effectively dead.
The bill would provide various business tax breaks including breaks to encourage development of a China air transport hub in St. Louis.
By a huge margin, the House previously had rejected the Senate's demand that the bill include corresponding reductions in tax credits for developers of low income housing and historical preservation project.
House members argued those tax credits stimulate development in local communities. Senate members argue that with Missouri government facing the prospects of deep budget cuts, it must scale back tax credits that cost the state more than $500 million per year.
The Senate's action leaves the governor with just one of the items he had requested the special session to approve -- changing a law that was interpreted as blocking public school teachers from using social media to communicate with their students.
Senate leadership say the Missouri special legislative session is effectively over — without having reached a decision on changing the date of the state's presidential primary election. The primary is said to have no impact in February, Republicans claim they will make their decisions by caucus.
Senators proposed competing amendments on Monday: one to eliminate the primary in favor of a caucus and one to keep the primary but move it to January. Debate ensued over whether votes in such a primary would yield any significant results.
"I do not want to waste $8 million, at a very difficult time in the state's history, on a beauty contest," said Sen. Tom Dempsey, R-St. Charles, who favors of the caucus plan.
Some Republican senators said a caucus enables the public to choose candidates without spending state money on an election, but others said a caucus alienates voters and does not encourage presidential candidates to visit or campaign in Missouri.
"There's a reason there's discontent with government: Elected officials are not listening to their constituents," Sen. Brad Lager, R-Maryville, said in support of his amendment to move the primary to January.
The senators described Missouri's population as a cross-section of the national population, ideal for a successful primary election. With almost six million residents in both urban and rural areas, the state is a better representation of national sentiment than smaller primary states such as Iowa and New Hampshire, said Sen. Timothy Green, D-St. Louis County. Green said campaign ads and visits for a primary election the money bring in enough money to the state's economy to make up for the cost to the state.
As of the end of September, Gov. Jay Nixon's campaign for governor in 2012 has raised more than $4 million while Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder, who is expected to announce his candidacy soon, has raised less than $2 million.
Craig Hosmer, Nixon's campaign treasurer, said Nixon received more donations because his performance in office has gained the loyalty of the people.
"I think he's been very effective," Hosmer said. "I think he's done a lot of things that are very popular with people, and I think he's been a great governor."
Rich Chrismer, Kinder's campaign adviser, would not directly comment whether he thought reports of Kinder's patronage at a St. Louis strip club affected donations.
Chrismer said Kinder is expected to declare his candidacy next month.