Pillow mogul and 2020 election result denier Mike Lindell’s “Moment of Truth” event reportedly put almost $440,000 into Springfield’s tourism economy.
Public data from the Springfield Convention and Visitors Bureau shows an estimated 1,000 guests came to Springfield for the Moment of Truth Summit, held Aug. 20-21 at University Plaza Hotel and Convention Center and the Springfield Expo Center. The Springfield Convention and Vistors Bureau found the event generated 1,010 overnight hotel room stays.
The CVB reports an economic impact of $439,910.98 for the event by Lindell Management, which was free to attend for invitees and featured a series of speakers questioning the results of the 2020 U.S. presidential election and the use of computer equipment in voting and election security.
Susan Wade, director of public relations for the CVB, explained the dollar figure for the Lindell event, and other conventions in Springfield, is calculated based on estimates. The Springfield CVB uses a software product called the Economic Impact Calculator.
“It was created by Destinations International, which is an umbrella organization for CVBs around the world,” Wade said.
The data is then compiled with another piece of software by Smith Travel Research, a group to which hotels report rates directly. The dataset is based on the average cost for out-of-towners to spend the night in Springfield.
“Things that go into it include how much they’re paying for their rooms, how much the event planner is paying for the facility, it looks at the amount of tax that might be collected,” Wade said. “We look at how many people, how many room nights, how much they’re spending to eat out, just based on estimates.”
More precise calculations are not feasible for the Springfield CVB, a nonprofit with about 20 staff members.
“It’s really, really expensive to do a true economic impact study, and we just can’t afford to do that, especially on every event,” Wade said.
What Lindell did in Springfield
Lindell, founder of My Pillow, has been crusading across the country making allegations of voter fraud leading to Democrat Joe Biden defeating incumbent Republican Donald Trump by an electoral vote of 306-232.
“The big thing is if you have voting machines in your country, you lose your country forever,” Lindell said at the event. “There’s no secure machines period. No blockchain, no nothing, it’s over, you lose your country. The machines have to go.”
Attorneys for Trump have filed 63 different lawsuits in an effort to bring a case for election fraud to the U.S. Supreme Court, but none of those lawsuits have been successful.
While the event was firmly in Missouri, cars and trucks in the parking lot bore license plates from Oklahoma, Arkansas, Texas, Kansas, Florida, Montana, Mississippi, Maryland, Tennessee, Colorado, Iowa, Illinois, Kentucky and New Mexico, among others.
The event included appearances by attorney Jenna Ellis, who previously worked for former President Donald Trump, former White House chief strategist-turned-podcaster Steve Bannon and U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Georgia.
After the “How We Got Here” portion of the event on Saturday morning, a parade of delegates said to represent all 50 of the United States went to the stage to explain voting, and computer and machine involvement in the voting process, in their states.
How the ‘Moment of Truth’ stacked up
The “Moment of Truth” convention was the fourth-most impactful event, according to the CVB calculations, in Springfield in July and August of 2022.
The Steubenville Youth Conference, a Catholic youth convention in early July, brought together an estimated 6,000 attendees and 830 room nights, with an estimated impact of $981,241.19 on the Springfield economy.
The Boone and Crockett Club’s 31st Big Game Awards program at Wonders of Wildlife had 2,075 room nights for about 1,200 attendees, using DoubleTree by Hilton as the host hotel, with an impact of $601,170.32.
From July 25-28, the Missouri Association for Career and Technical Education brought 987 people to the Oasis Hotel and Convention Center for a $663,307 injection into Springfield’s tourism economy.
Other six-figure notable conventions in July and August include the Missouri Choral Directors Association at $312,343.06, the Great Lakes chapter of the American Association of Airport Executives at $313,513.74, the 2022 National Quail Symposium at $290,833.82, the National Association of Rocketry at $155,573.54, and the Missouri D.A.R.E. Officers Association at $263,557.09.
If the CVB doesn’t book the event, it does not calculate an estimated financial impact for it, but still collects data on the estimated number of attendees and room nights.