Analysis: Top Democrat in St. Louis County Steve Stenger Resigns Following Federal Pay-to-Play Charges
St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger resigned his position Monday following a 3-count federal indictment which painted a picture of a broad pay-to-play scheme.
This came after the US Attorney’s Office announced Monday that Stenger was indicted last Thursday on three counts of mail fraud.
The evidence presented by the grand jury indictment of St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger is pretty extensive, and damning, but it’s just an indictment. A federal prosecutor still needs to take this to trial, and prove beyond a reasonable doubt that this pay-to-play scheme existed. Sometimes, the more interesting things are not the most obvious, though.
If you want all the details, then you need to read the indictment . The indictment alleges Steve Stenger had a pay-to-play scheme with businessman John Rallo, from bogus consulting fees to sham property deals. But if you have been paying attention to the Deep State’s attempted take-down of a sitting president, you know there are things that delve deeper than the story presented to us.
It is easy to focus on Stenger here because he was so reviled by so many. He is the quintessential politician, and when we say “politician” we mean it in the pejorative sense. But no one of his ilk can accomplish the alleged pay-to-play scheme without the loathsome unelected officials that surround such a politician. Here is a great excerpt from the indictment, in Stenger’s own words, describing such individuals:
[St. Louis Economic Development Partnership’s CEO Sheila Sweeney’s] a political creature, she was appointed by a politician, and by people who were appointed by politicians to take this role. She took the role. Now you’re in it. You’re either going to do it or you’re not. Get the f— out. You’re a political person.
Every one of our department heads is a political person. You two [staffers William Miller & Jeff Wagener] are political people, I am a political person, I have to be, I’m in politics. That’s what we do. It’s not the art of f—ing over your friends. It’s the art of how do I work with people I trust and know.
It’s the art of staying in power.
The most prominent “political person” mentioned in the indictment is the above mentioned Sweeney. Her unauthorized (well, allegedly Stenger authorized) addition of $30,000 to the consulting contract given to Rallo, Stenger’s alleged pay-to-play partner, seems to be the first indication something nefarious was afoot. And therein lies one of the bigger questions that the indictment does not directly address.
That $30,000 was payment to an individual only identified as JC in the indictment. “JC was a close associate of a public official who had helped Stenger get out the vote” in 2014. The indictment does not give us anything else to really identify JC, or the public official, but this was right after the Ferguson incident. What we do know is that the public official & JC had enough sway with Stenger to steer a $30,000 payment to JC. And while they may not have known where the money was coming from, the indictment makes it pretty clear JC did diddly-squat to earn it. Which leads us to believe this public official is also a “politician” in the pejorative sense. This definitely needs to be investigated, and made public. And we would bet you would find this public official involved in other kick-back schemes.
The next major question that needs answering pertains to “Company One”. We know Company One is a Missouri lobbying firm. A cursory interwebs query brings up Kit Bond Strategies as the lobbying agent for St. Louis Economic Development Partnership. We know Company One was a major contributor to Stenger’s campaign, and we know the head of Company One also contacted Stenger directly about being awarded the contract. Much like Rallo & “public official”, Company One provided for Stenger, and expected Stenger to provide back. In fact, this seems to be Company One’s M.O. And while Company One definitely deserves to be investigated for misdeeds, we am not foolish enough to believe they are the only lobbying outfit pulling these sorts of hijinks.
Another thing that is not entirely clear is what initiated the federal investigation. While the indictment looks back to the initial introduction between Rallo & Stenger on October 23, 2014, what tipped off the Feds is unclear. A lot of the early communications in the indictment appear to be text messages, but by the time Company One becomes a part of the indictment the communications seem to be recorded. Were these phone conversations? Was someone else recording these conversations? This is not the most pertinent line of inquiry in the indictment, but we would be interested to know whether Stenger got caught from plain stupidity or whether it was a whistleblower.
There are things outside of this indictment that should be investigated, as well. Better Together, the controversial group trying to merge STL City & County had an extensive relationship with Stenger, even put forth a plan to appoint Stenger as Dictator of a merged STL. Considering the suspension of the NAACP STL County branch president regarding his relationship with Better Together, we suspect Stenger & Better Together’s relationship was less than wholesome.
Ultimately, this is an indictment of the political class, and their hanger-ons. We all know deep in our gut this sort of thing is happening, but rarely do we get affirmation. And while it is satisfying when people like Stenger get what’s coming to them, we should not settle for the easy pickings.
Note: The Gateway Pundit reached out to local St. Louis activists for assistance with this report.