St. Louis Public Radio News
5:00 pm
Fri July 31, 2009

Mo. Housing Development Commission adopts new ethics rules

Jefferson City, MO – The Missouri Housing Development Commission today adopted new ethics rules for commission members and staffers.

The new rules include barring commissioners and staff members from having business relationships with applicants seeking benefits from the commission.

Violators will be banned from applying for benefits for two years.

Also, any conflicts of interest have to be disclosed publicly, and commissioners with such conflicts must recuse themselves from related votes and discussions.

Lt. Governor Peter Kinder asked the commission to wait until next month's meeting to adopt the new rules, as he was traveling in Canada and hadn't had time to review them.

But State Treasurer and MHDC Chairman Clint Zweifel urged commissioners to hold the vote today.

"I think every day that we wait, it destroys and hurts the ability for this organization to achieve its mission of providing affordable housing throughout the state," Zweifel said.

The commission voted unanimously to adopt the rules today, with Kinder abstaining via conference call.

The new ethics rules also bar applicants for two years if they are found to have hired current or recently departed commission members and staff.

The reforms come in the wake of a state audit that showed the MHDC gave out more than a hundred million dollars to developers with links to two former commission members.