Sunday, January 23, 2011

State Senator Dean Kirby: Bud's man and a beer money fan.

Update: Mississippi Business Journal has a blog post mentioning this post and some other information this morning. AB told the MBJ it had no position on the bill.

Original post:

State Senator Dean Kirby received more cash from Capitol Advocacy Group and Anheuser-Busch than other other politician in Mississippi according to campaign finance reports. Anheuser-Busch donated $3,000 to Senator Kirby while CAG, a PAC created by Anheuser-Busch's lobbyist, gave $14,500 as well. No other politician in Mississippi received such generosity from the beer lobby since 2007 as did Senator Dean Kirby and Lieutenant Governor Phil Byrant.

The Mississippi Business Journal reported Senator Dean Kirby, Chairman of the Finance Committee, made it clear any bills to raise the alcohol content of beer in Mississippi or bills supporting the brewing of "craft beer" in Mississippi are dead on arrival in his committee and will not be introduced. Clay Chandler also reports Lieutenant Governor Phil Bryant supports Dean Kirby:

"Bryant said in an e-mailed statement that he did "not see a reasonable public benefit to increasing the alcohol content in Mississippi."
Sen. Dean Kirby, R-Pearl, chairman of the Finance Committee, confirmed that the beer legislation stood zero chance of making it out of his committee, and that he wouldn't introduce it.
"I really don't want to put my committee members in an uncomfortable position in an election year," he said of his reasons for not bringing the bill to a vote.
Kirby said he would allow Bailey and Henderson and other pro-craft beer groups to present their case to his committee some time before the session ends."

Senator David Baria introduced SB #2064. The bill will raise the alcohol content of beer sold in Mississippi from 5% to 8%. This will permit the sale of more expensive "gourmet" beers sold in the other 49 states.

Some will say Dean Kirby is standing up for Christian values and protecting Mississippi from the drunks. If that is the case then why is Dean Kirby Budweiser's best friend in the legislature? Don't think its true? Let's play follow the money.

A review of campaign finance reports reveals Senator Kirby has received quite a bit of money from Anheuser-Busch and Capitol Advocacy Group. CAG is a political action committee created by Beth Clay, A-B lobbyist (oh to hell with it, I'm going to start using "Bud", much easier to type.) and her son, Stephen. The reports show:

7/28/09: Bud gave $1,000 to Dean Kirby
12/15/08: CAG gave $12,500 to Dean Kirby. The next-highest donation was $1,500.
12/2/08: Bud gave $1,000 to Dean Kirby
10/31/08: Bud gave $15,000 to CAG
10/21/08: Clay Firm gave $20,000 to CAG
12/9/07: CAG gave $2,000 to Dean Kirby
10/4/07: Bud gave $2,000 to CAG
10/15/07: Bud gave $500 to Dean Kirby
8/13/07: Bud gave $500 to Dean Kirby
6/29/07: Bud gave $20,000 to CAG.
8/26/03: Bud gave $500 to Dean Kirby

Campaign finance reports are due next week so it will be interesting to see if the pattern of large donations from the beer lobby to Mr. Kirby continued in 2010.

The registered lobbyist for Anheuser-Busch is Beth Clay. Anheuser-Busch paid Ms. Clay $92,197 in 2008, $77,873 in 2007, $79,241 in 2006, $76,000 in 2004, $44,800 in 2003, $74,666 in 2002, and $76,500 in 2001. There was no compensation for 2005 and 2009. CAG did not file a campaign finance report for 2005 and 2009 as well so it appears CAG does not have any activity every four years.

Anheuser-Busch was the only donor to CAG in the last election cycle, 2007, giving $22,000 to the PAC. The largest donations that year were to Dean Kirby, Alan Nunalee, and Phil Bryant (Wonder if Alan and Brett will start shrieking I'm picking on poor ole Phil.). CAG gave money to the following politicians in 2007:

Phil Bryant: $5,000
Mike Chaney: $500
Jeff Smith: $1,000
Jerry Turner: $200
Ryan Sadler: $200
Dick Hall: $500
Jim Hood: $250
Johnny Stringer: $1,000
Lee Yancey: $250
Lester Spell: $500
Lynn Posey: $500
Delbert Hoseman: $500
Alan Nunnellee: $2,000
Dean Kirby: $2,000
David Blount: $500
Billy Hewes: $1,000

The following parties gave money to CAG in 2007:
Anheuser-Busch: $22,000

The pattern continued in 2008 campaign finance report. Donations given to Mississippi politicians:

Dean Kirby: $12,000
Percy Watson: $1,000
David Baria: $1,000
Briggs Hopson: $500
Gary Jackson: $500
Kenneth Wayne Jones: $500
Buck Clarke: $500
Hob Bryan: $1,000
Lee Yancey: $500
Vic Carmichel: $1,500
Chris McDaniel: $500
Ed Blackmon: $1,000
Willie Perkins: $500
Jim Hood: $200
David Blount: $500

The following parties gave money to CAG:
Pfizer: $1,500
Clay Firm: $20,000
Anheuser-Busch: $15,000

The question must be asked why Senator Kirby is dead-set on killing any beer legislation in his committee. Is it because as he explains it, he doesn't want to put his members in an "uncomfortable" position? Is it because of supposed "Christian" values? Or is it because he takes more money than any other politician in Mississippi from Anheuser-Busch and Capitol Advocacy Group? Are Dean Kirby and Phil Bryant protecting Anheuser-Busch from competition from "boutique" beers? Beer money or the Bible? Only Senator Kirby and Phil Bryant can answer that question.


Anonymous said...

no wonder....

dirty damn rats, the whole lot of em

Unknown said...

This bill made such common sense that I wondered why it didn't stand a chance. Now I know.

Anonymous said...

Senator Kirby has always been from Pearl

Anonymous said...

The reason is b/c Anheiser Busch does not have access to the Craft Brews. This is a very clear example of business preventing competition in the MS marketplace through the purchase of political influence.

cavalier said...

Wonder what the whiskey hatin' folk of Rankin County will think when they find out Brother Dean is just a hypocritical, anti-small business good ol' boy in the pocket of a Belgian held big beer brewer? Good job, KF.

Bud stands to lose nothing by bringing MS in line with EVERY other state. Their fight is only out of market ignorance, which explains their dismal numbers prior to getting gobbled up by In-Bev. If someone wants Bud Light, that what he or she will buy. Not craft beer.

Anonymous said...

Boycott Busch products. Tell everybody you know to stop buying Bud, Bud Lite, Michelob, Shock Top and all Busch products. Explain why. Make Busch pay for their greed.

Anonymous said...

I am shocked, SHOCKED!, to learn a politician will take money to to favor the business interests of the campaign contributor ;-)

Seriously, has anyone seen this story anywhere else besides MBJ and here? Thanks KF for holding the lantern high so we can see the rats and cockroaches scurry and flee.

gg said...

Great work KF! I'm a big Lazy Mag fan, and the lack of a "reasonable public benefit to increasing the alcohol content in MS" hurts our only homegrown brewery.

Anonymous said...

You need to go talk to Dink over at Capitol City Bev. Or go talk to the Bertucci's out of Gulfport. These guys will give you the real story.

Anonymous said...

Oh, I saw Phil in the store today. I didn't realize how short he is.

Anonymous said...

Convenient way to get around the $1000 corporate contribution limit in Mississippi’s campaign finance laws.

Anonymous said...

This is why we can't get Yuengling beer in MS. You can now buy it in Alabama.....

Maximus Decimus Meridius said...

I remember a news report a couple years ago where a fake Budweiser delivery van was being used somewhere in the southwest to smuggle illegal aliens across the border from Mejico in the USA. What was different was that when the Border Patrol finally busted the smugglers they discovered they were ferrying illegal Chinese across the border. This Buds For You Dean!

Anonymous said...

In Jackson, Bud once had Guiness and Harp, but let them go because they were sooooo brand loyal. Capital picked them up and increased their beer offerings by a ton. Too bad Bud is trying to keep a wide variety of craft beers out of our hands. Hoped that the buyout would change their business practices, but I guess not.

Anonymous said...

No joke, Dean Kirby from his younger days.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad to have this information, and disappointed that we won't be seeing higher alcohol content beers in the near future. Truth is, though, that an 8% limit would still keep us from getting a number of very good Belgian and Belgian-style beers. We should shoot for 10 or 11%, even if that means that the high-end stuff has to be sold at liquor stores. Until then, I'll just have to get my good bottles out of state. AR, LA, and TX just want the revenue more, I guess.

Anonymous said...

You all need to understand the three tier distribution system.

The issue here is NOT the alcohol level. The issue is share of market that the majority share holder wants to maintain/increase.

Craft brews have been enjoying the ONLY growth in recent years; competition to Bud has a majority of the craft brands.

Flagship brands like Bud (declining almost a decade) and Bud-Light (declining last few years) are not enough to support the distribution franchise growth needs.

The money here from the distributors is a very local issue. It is about preventing competition from having more diversity in products to distribute and meet consumers demands through the retailers they service.

Maximus Decimus Meridius said...

No comment out of the business unfriendly Clarion-Ledger about this but sure as hell when the next Powerball jackpot gets into the hundreds of million ol' Davey Hamptom will be bitching about the lost tax revenue resulting from people driving across the river to Tallulah to buy lottery tickets. No doubt he and Ronnie Agnew are still too busy with their analysis of Taylor Stone photos.

Anonymous said...

"AB told the MBJ it had no position on the bill." Do they have a position on Kirby's view of alcohol bills, that members shouldn't have to vote on such issues during an election year?

Anonymous said...

Just don't buy Bud or Bud Light until the laws passes. Boycott Bud!

Anonymous said...

The issue here isn't the market, or boycotts, or whatever. It's that one large donor can make a law good for itself which is bad for the majority (or here, kill one that benefits the masses). The issue is campaign finance (which drives people to drink).

Anonymous said...

Waiting for Friday.

KaptKangaroo said...

Your challenge; go convince the masses your interest in a hobby is more important than the multinational marketing juggernaut already deeply invested in their everyday mass investment of Bud Light.

You have no idea what you are up against.

Anonymous said...

Just go to Phil Bryant's facebook page, and post whatever you feel like telling him on his wall.

Just click like near the top - then post away!! Let's see how many folks we can get posting on there telling him how crooked we all know he is! Btw - you can "un-like" when you are finished saying your peace.

Too bad dean Kirby doesn't have a facebook account...

Anonymous said...

Why don't you go first?

Chad V. Rommerdale said...

Senator Kirby and Lt. Gov. Phil Bryant ALLWAYS have my vote and support. No matter whether or not I agree with everything. The big picture is they are honorable and respected by their peers and are driven for the greater good. You can interpret one event in a hundred different ways, but that does not mean you or the majority of posters on here have a clue to what the hell they're talking about.

Anonymous said...

Yeah....they are honorable, Chad. I'm sure that whomever raised you would be happy to know that support hypocrites that love money and think you are stupid.

Anonymous said...

Chad, you are an idiot.

What this is all about is the freedom of choice for the citizens of MS no matter how small in numbers that may be. Which brings up the fact that one of the 'excuses'these dishonarbale scumbags use, that it will increase teen drinking or whatever, is a crock. Teens can go to a liquor store and 100% grain alcohol. But that is okay. If these dishonorable scumbags had any integrity they would sponsor a bill for Prohibition of alcohol altogether. It is about freedom and consumer choice for MS citizens, to allow them the same rights as EVERYONE ELSE IN THE FREE WORLD.

Anonymous said...

So, Chad, do you actually know what Mr. Kirby and Mr. Bryant stand for?

Or, is ignorance bliss?

George Wilson said...

At least Chad had the guts to identify himself by name, unlike all of you other anonymous know-it-alls. I'm not happy about the roadblock put up by Kirby, but it bothers me to see someone called an idiot for expressing his opinion.

Patrick Fulton said...

He is being called an idiot because his opinion is BS. And because he is taking up for people who make MS the worst state ever. By him saying the majority of posters on here don't know what they are talking about just a fancy pc way of calling the posters stupid? And what about your sarcastic 'know-it-alls' comment? That is not very nice and could bother some people George Wilson.

Anonymous said...

George the JFP hosts a Roman Helmet Rumba everyday. Check it out!

Anonymous said...

Nice pic!

Anonymous said...

Please fill out the information below to email updates from the Phil Bryant campaign.

From Phil's page. Look what was MISPELLED.

Anonymous said...

I predict embarrassment of having Phil Bryant as governor will make us miss Finch and Fordice.
So sad, to follow a presentable, effective governor who helped restore some credibility to our State with Bryant but I expect that is exactly what will happen.

Anonymous said...

6:02 Might be helpful to provide a link to said page, or the misspelling itself for us lazy types.

Anonymous said...

Phil Bryant will restrict you from posting on his facebook page if you disagree with him. That is the primary reason that I am not supporting him at all in anything. Add to that his use of religion in trying to get elected governor (encouraging the nativity in the capitol and establishing the Baptist Senate Chaplain), and flags go up to something fishy at the core.

Uneducated rednecks probably love that, but anyone with intelligence should be able to see through such smoke and mirrors.

Kingfish said...

I kind of agree with him. Its his facebook page, a means of getting information out about him and the campaign, not a free for all message board or debating society.

Julio Cespedes Jr. said...


I don't know if there is any way you could ever find out any information about this (or if you even view it as relevant), but apparently I also hear to top off his "moral reasons" he has voted for resort status of the country club he is a member of so it could have Sunday beer sales. I'm not saying that is wrong at all, but you can't cite moral reasons for voting down a beer bill and do that...

Anonymous said...

Bryant's just going to sell us out to any special interest willing to buy him. It's a shame that is obvious if anyone has been to Abita Spgs down in La. Lot of jobs.

Ahkmed Ptooey said...

Look for "Boycott Bud/Miller/Coors" on Facebook

Anonymous said...

There is a significant amount of discussion always going on in the beer industry. They typically hire a lobby group, and sometimes hire Mississippi Lobbyist to help them navigate the complex world of the Mississippi legislature.

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