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Sinquefield-Backed Pelopidas Supports Racist Mailer

Amendment 2 is a ballot measure that would expand Medicaid in Missouri. The “No On 2 in August” campaign opposes the amendment. The campaign receives major financial support from Pelopidas, which is backed by Rex Sinquefield, a SLU board member and financial donor to the university.

A recent mailer (see here and here) from the “No On 2 in August” campaign declares the following:

  • “THE TRUTH ABOUT AMENDMENT 2, UNMASKED: AMENDMENT 2 MEANS TAXPAYER FUNDED HEALTHCARE FOR ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS”
  • “AMENDMENT 2 MEANS ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS FLOODING MISSOURI HOSPITALS…WHILE WE PAY FOR IT”
  • “Amendment 2 would expand benefits for people who shouldn’t even be in our country, rewarding illegal immigration with taxpayer handouts”
  • “Amendment 2 would be just another incentive for people to enter the county illegally, come to Missouri, and then crowd into our hospitals, taking care away from citizens”

Each side of the mailer features a person wearing a facemask with the flag of Mexico.

The mailer’s rhetoric and imagery are racist, anti-immigrant, and inaccurate. (As reported by the Kansas City Star, undocumented immigrants are ineligible to enroll in Medicaid.)

According to a July 31 press release, the Coalition for Black Trade Unionists, Organization for Black Struggle, Missouri Jobs with Justice, Missouri Immigration and Refugee Advocates, and the St. Louis Inter-Faith Committee on Latin America “called on airport privatization proponents to disavow the racist, anti-immigrant tactics of the anti-Medicaid expansion ‘No On 2 in August’ campaign,” pointing out that “No On 2 has received heavy support from the Sinquefield-backed firm Pelopidas, the organization backing the Lambert privatization effort.”

In the press release, Lew Moye, President Emeritus of the Coalition for Black Trade Unionists, states,

Why should anyone believe or support Sinquefield and Pelopidas, the chief architects of the plan to privatize the St. Louis Airport, while at the same time they are pumping hundreds of thousand dollars into the Committee to defeat Medicaid expansion that will actually help residents support their families. We cannot trust groups who resort to racist, Trump-like attacks to look out for the wellbeing of North City residents.

As a university community, we need to ask ourselves the following questions:

  • How can we credibly claim to stand against systemic racism, when a board member and major financial donor engages in “racist, Trump-like attacks”?
  • How can we credibly claim to stand for social justice for oppressed members of society when we accept money from a billionaire who promotes racist, anti-immigrant rhetoric and imagery?

This is not the first time that Rex Sinquefield has engaged in unethical behavior in government; indeed, he features prominently in the Sentencing Memorandum for former St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger, who pleaded guilty to federal corruption charges. We need to ask ourselves additional questions:

  • What are appropriate ethical standards for SLU board members?
  • Are we willing to look the other way to receive financial donations from wealthy elites who engage in unethical behavior?

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