Thursday, February 26, 2015

Watchdog Death! The Shocking and Tragic Loss of Tom Schweich

Missouri lost an amazing leader and one of the greatest Taxpayer Watchdogs ever with the truely tragic Loss of Tom Schweich.
He aparently shot himself today while his wife was in the next room. Thus, while he certainly had many enemies emanating from audits passed and current, and also as an announced candidate for Governor in what was to be an ugly battle against former House Speaker Catherine Hannaway, foul play seems unlikely. 

 The Missouri Net has the reactions from across Missouri which universally credit Schweich for his brilliance and integrity. In an interview on KMOX radio, veteran Missouri Capitol reporter Phil Brooks described Schweick to host Mark Readon as and amazingly rare politician whose door was always ope, literally. He then gave a most interesting insight wiht his personal assessment that Schweick seemed to lack the personal "thick skin" of most successful politicians he knew. 
Perhaps the personal criticism that all politicians must endure may have in fact taken a toll on the heart of this amazing public servant. 

 As a taxpayer watchdog, Schweick was second to none, and yours truly is in a unique position to assess as a 14 year lawmaker and even candidate for State Auditor (albeit a failed one). I am very familiar with what the job involves, from looking out for taxpayers and making sure taxpayers get the best value and efficiency from government agencies from the state and local agencies to public schools. Schweich not only took on anyone and everyone, he had the brilliance to take on the Mack's Creek Law. I voted for that taxpayer protection in 1995, so I was amazed that an auditor would have the foresight to take on the task of checking up on whether the policy is being followed almost 20 years later. It was another great Missouri invention, limiting the use/abuse of speed traps. Abusive locales like Macks Creek, MO could not gain more than 35% of their revenue from traffic tickets. 

Tom Schweich's amazing ability is perhaps best noted in the way he came to power as the Establishment's pick for Auditor designed to defeat Tea Party favorite Alan Icet, but quickly won over the Tea Party prompting a tribute by St. Louis Tea Party founder, Bill Hennessy. Schweich had all of the trappings of the typical Ladue blue blood, from his Ivy League lawyer credential to Ambassdor appointment, author and scholar. He was so stunningly dynamic and genuinely curious that he won over everyone who got to know him. The real tragedy is the loss to his wife Kathy and two children left behind. I am certain that a man like Schweich made every preparation for them. May God bless them.

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