Mark C. Milton is a tax attorney.
That’s what it says on the website Milton Law Group, which cleverly has a phone number ending in 1040, the name of the Internal Revenue Service form that most of us will soon be filling out when filing our annual taxes.
Milton used to be one of those guys in the Justice Department who went after tax scams. He then moved to the other side, representing companies and individuals fighting with the IRS. So why is a tax attorney teaming up with Attorney General Eric Schmitt to file lawsuits against public school districts in the St. Louis area that have implemented mask mandates?
You may have read about the 45 total lawsuits filed against many, but not all, of the state’s school districts that continue to require mitigation measures – including masks – to protect students, teachers and other staff from the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
- KSDK reporters Casey Nolen and Abby Llorico are on their way to DC — and to the altar
- Media Views: Could Region’s Biggest TV Provider Spectrum Lose Cardinals, Blues TV Shows From BSM?
- Wentzville School Board Bans Acclaimed Novel From High School Libraries Over Obscenity Complaints
- St. Louis notary ordered 989 fake vaccination cards from China
- As the lockout continues, DeJong is hitting new drills and data to lock in the momentum and reward the Cardinals’ confidence
- Fairview Heights Police: At least one person shot dead in mall
- School districts in the St. Louis area are defying attorney general and complying with mask mandates
- ‘Take it back man’: Ballwin lawmakers urge colleague to retract comments on ‘Chinese virus’
- 2 St. Louis officers, 5 others hospitalized after vehicle drove into them on I-64
- Family and friends of man killed by Wood River police suspect ‘suicide by police officer’
- Messenger: Parsons release from pandemic emergency limits substitute teacher pool
- Editorial: Democrats should stop whining and accept half a loaf as the best they can get
- Witness reports gunfire near Fenton, killing man and dog
- Messenger: Schools are closing, hospitals need help as Missouri Gov. Parson, AG Schmitt, ignores the reality of the pandemic
- BenFred: A look into the crystal ball for the future of young cardinals
Last August, Schmitt unsuccessfully tried to sue all school districts with mask mandates. Now, while Missouri’s hospital systems are swamped with patients, this time he’s at it again, with a twist. He is asking parents to get involved, and he is asking a select group of private attorneys, none of whom appear to have particular expertise in school district or public health law, to represent those parents.
Back to the question: Why is a tax attorney teaming up with Schmitt in this politically motivated search?
The answer appears in the records of the Missouri Ethics Committee, where Milton is the treasurer of nine political action committees. He managed seven others, but they were fired. These are committees with conservative-sounding political names: Patriot PAC, Freedom’s Promise PAC, Pro-Life Pioneer Fund, Mighty Missouri. As committee treasurer, Milton solicits or accepts funds from various donors and then passes the money on to politicians or other donors, sometimes moving the money between his various PACs so taxpayers and voters can’t really see who the money came from when it arrives at the final recipient. He is paid about $500 a month by each of the PACs for his services.
The most recent political action committee Milton founded is the BB Freedom Fund. In its filings, the PAC says it exists to support the candidacy of Ben Brown, who is running for state senate. Milton set up this committee on January 13. A few days later, Schmitt emailed public school parents in various school districts in the St. Louis area, asking if they would like to join the state’s lawsuits. In the email, he informed the parents that their personal attorney would be Milton. Schmitt added Milton’s email address.
What does that have to do with brown? When he’s not running for state senate, Brown is the owner of Satchmo’s Bar & Grill in Chesterfield, one of the businesses involved in a lawsuit against the state’s Department of Health and Human Services last year, arguing that the department has no authority over local health departments to allow for health orders to be issued during a pandemic.
Schmitt represented the DHSS in this legal dispute in his capacity as Attorney General. He lost, maybe on purpose. He then declined to appeal the verdict, which health law experts say was dubious at best. Now Schmitt is spending an enormous amount of time enforcing the verdict, particularly through lawsuits against cities, counties, and now school districts.
He will likely lose most, if not all, of them, as he did when he previously sued school districts and as he did against St. Louis County last week. But that’s not really the point. Schmitt isn’t trying to emphasize the law, dead principals, or children in intensive care. He’s trying to get his face on Fox News. By the time one of these lawsuits actually makes it to a judge, the COVID-19 surge caused by the Omicron variant will likely have subsided, some schools will have dropped their mask requirements, and these lawsuits will be moot.
But before that happens, let’s slow down and connect the dots: Missouri’s attorney general, who is running for the Republican nomination for the US Senate on an anti-mandate platform, lost a lawsuit against Ben Brown, refusing to appeal , and then asked the parents to join another lawsuit against their school districts, with Brown’s political fundraiser as their personal advocate.
That’s at least one questionable attorney. But the bottom line is that taxpayers are now on the hook, both for Schmitt’s expenses when he files reckless lawsuits, and for the school districts fighting Schmitt in court for the right to protect our children and their teachers from a deadly virus protection.
I wonder: is there any way for a taxpayer to deduct these expenses being foisted on us by an overly ambitious Attorney General? If Milton would just call me back, I could ask him.