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Mo. House Democrats To Revive Ethics Legislation

House Democrats new leaders.JPG
(Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)

House Democrats say they’ll again try to get campaign contribution limits restored in Missouri when next year’s regular legislative session begins.

The Missouri Supreme Court reinstated caps on campaign contributions in 2007, but a 2008 law removed them again.  Jake Hummel of St. Louis takes over next year as the top Democrat in the Missouri House.  He says they’ll push for an ethics bill similar to one in 2010 that had support in both parties.

“It unfortunately was derailed by the majority, and over the last two years we’ve had little to no movement in ethics reform," Hummel said.

The 2010 ethics bill originally contained caps on contributions, but the provision was stripped out and the bill was tacked onto a larger government procurement bill.  Earlier this year the Missouri Supreme Court removed the ethics language from the procurement law, saying it violated the single subject clause.  State Representative Kevin McManus (D, Kansas City) has been tapped to sponsor the proposed ethics bill.

“We believe that this is not only a priority of our caucus, but a priority of Missourians throughout the state who want transparency and accountability in their government," McManus said.

The proposed bill would limit contributions to $5,000 per donor for candidates seeking statewide and legislative offices, restrict committee-to-committee money transfers and give the Missouri Ethics Commission the authority to launch its own investigations.  It would also force not-for-profit groups that donate to campaigns to disclose donors’ identities, and restrict contributions from being invested in anything other than interest-bearing bank accounts.

The Missouri General Assembly's 2013 session begins Jan. 9.

Follow Marshall Griffin on Twitter: @MarshallGReport

Marshal was a political reporter for St. Louis Public Radio until 2018.

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