St. Louis Public Radio News
5:22 pm
Mon December 14, 2009

New bipartisan ethics proposal from Mo. lawmakers

Jefferson City, Mo. – New ethics rules are being proposed by two Missouri House members from opposite parties.

Democrat Jason Kander of Kansas City and Republican Timothy Flook of Liberty are co-sponsoring the bill.

It contains several provisions. One would make it a felony to mask the source of a financial contribution by transferring it through a number of political committees.

Flook says it would eliminate what he calls, in effect, a form of money laundering.

"You already can't intentionally launder, we're just trying to close that circle and make sure that we can close that loophole...one way to do it is to help eliminate the creation of these other committees," Flook said.

The bill would also require political consultants not already covered by state lobbying laws to register as "de facto" lobbyists.

Kander says it's crucial for citizens to believe in their government.

"When people lose faith in their government to act in a legitimate manner, they stop volunteering, they stop having hope about what's goint to happen in their community...every effort that we can make in order to restore that hope and restore that confidence in government, it may not work every time and it may not work completely, but it's an effort worth making," Kander said.

Kander and Flook say the bill has the backing of both Missouri House Speaker Ron Richard (R, Joplin) and Democratic Floor Leader Paul LeVota (D, Independence).

Other proposed bills for the 2010 legislative session would restore campaign contribution limits and would bar contributions while the Missouri General Assembly is in session.