State Senator Rob Schaaf contends recent billboards aimed at him were financed with dark money.

State Sen. Rob Schaaf (R-St. Joseph)

The St. Joseph Republican notes three billboards, including one that read “Did you know? Rob Schaaf lived with a lobbyist?”, were paid for by a group – Darlington Road Corporation – in which an attorney is the only member.

The billboards are in or near Jefferson City and St. Joseph.

Schaaf asked his colleagues on the Senate floor yesterday if they agree with him that more transparency is needed.

“You have to ask yourself the question, ‘Is this the way I want my state to run?’,” said Schaaf.  “If somebody runs billboards against you, do you feel like you ought to know who paid for it?”

Schaaf said on the Senate floor that he was able to track down, through the help of a local TV station, the origin of Darlington Road Corporation to an attorney in Las Vegas, Robert Spretnak, who is listed as the company’s only officer, treasurer, secretary, and director.  The company is registered on the Nevada Secretary of State’s website.

Schaaf repeatedly said he was not intimidated while speaking on the Senate floor.  He said the presence of dark money, in which specifically classified non-profits don’t have to reveal their donors, should be prohibited.

“We shouldn’t allow this.” Schaaf said.  “We should shut out the dark money.  And that is the message that I really want people to think about.  We should end the dark money.”

Schaaf mentioned that fellow Republican Governor Eric Greitens’ non-profit, A New Missouri, which legally declines to list its donors, has spent money against him and other state Senators, including fellow Republicans Doug Libla of Poplar Bluff, Gary Romine of Farmington and Bob Dixon of Springfield.

The state Senator who will term out of office at the end of this year acknowledged he couldn’t say whether Greitens or allies of the governor bankrolled the billboards.

The non-profit groups exempt from having to identify those who contribute are classified under the 501 (c) (4) section of the Internal Revenue Code.

Schaaf is supporting a proposed initiative petition, known as the Clean Missouri initiative, that would eliminate almost all lobbyist gifts, lower campaign contributions and require legislative records to be open to the public.

Since the weekend, Schaaf has posted on Twitter a number of defiant messages targeted at what he perceives as a dark money group as having financed the billboards.  One read, “The message is not what is ON the billboards. The message IS the billboards. They are dark money fighting for survival, corruption desperately trying to stay in power.

Another tweet says, “Stick a fork in the coward who paid for the billboards.”

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