Missouri State Auditor Democrat Nicole Galloway is running for Governor against Republican incumbent Mike Parson. While Galloway claims she never intended to get into politics (harhar) lobbying disclosure reports raise questions about the political calculations made by Galloway as she seeks the top state slot.
On February 26, 2015, the Missouri political world reeled from the suicide of Republican State Auditor Tom Schweich. Both Republicans and Democrats were horrified to learn of Schweich’s death. Former Democrat Senator Claire McCaskill called Schweich a “good man, and a dedicated public servant, who served our country in so many capacities with distinction and honor.” Republican Senator Roy Blunt called Schweich “very smart, very capable, outstanding at his job, and a good friend.”
Current Missouri Auditor and Democrat candidate for Missouri governor Nicole Galloway took a different approach.
At the time of Schweich’s suicide, Nicole Galloway was serving as Boone County Treasurer and her husband was a registered lobbyist for Mortgage Research Center, a mortgage lender that does business as Veterans United Home Loans.
Three days after Schweich’s suicide, on March 1, 2015, Galloway’s husband Jon Galloway deregistered as a lobbyist with Veterans United Home Loans. A month later, on April 14, 2015, Democrat Governor Nixon announced the appointment of Nicole Galloway as Schweich’s replacement.
A senior GOP player in the state, who asked for anonymity, views Galloway’s decision to have her husband deregister as a lobbyist so soon after Schweich’s suicide as darkly calculating. “Galloway was clearly worried about her husband’s lobbying becoming an issue that could hurt her political ambitions, so she barely waited for the body to be cold before she started plotting her next political move. It’s absolutely disgusting,” said the GOP aide.
What makes it worse is that Galloway had good reason to worry that her husband’s lobbying work for Veterans United could become a political issue.
According to court records, in January 2017 Veterans United Home Loans was fined over $100,000 by the California Department of Business Oversight for charging veterans illegally high interest rates. Yup, they cheated military veterans. It doesn’t get much lower than that.
Then, in August 2017, Veterans United Home Loans was forced to pay over $1 million in penalties and restitution for overcharging veterans on their interest rates according to the New York Department of Financial Services. So there was financial impropriety by the firm at the very least. The facts are bad for Galloway. The perception even worse. That’s why the business connection had to be jettisoned quickly, before voters could do the math and reject the Galloway accession to the seat.
Says another player involved with the issue, “This is the reason people are disgusted with politics. That Galloway has the nerve to run for governor after that stunt is appalling. This very reason alone should make voters reject her at the polls.”