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Nixon urges General Assembly to pass ethics reform in 2010

By Adam Allington, St. Louis Public Radio

Jefferson City, MO –

Missouri Governor Jay Nixon is urging state legislators to craft a comprehensive ethics reform bill in 2010.

In a two-page letter, Nixon outlined four core elements he says are necessary to strengthen the credibility of Missouri's elected officials:

1. Reestablishing campaign contribution limits that were repealed in 2008.

2. Barring legislators from becoming lobbyists immediately after their term.

3. Stopping the practice of transferring funds between committees to obscure the original source.

4. Prohibiting elected officials from receiving payment for political consulting

Nixon said repealing campaign contributions in particular was a bad idea that was pushed through by the Republican-led General Assembly and former Governor Matt Blunt.

"They said when they passed it that it would provide greater transparency, that is simply not true," said Nixon. "The laundromats of committees that are out there make it almost impossible for the public to ascertain where contributions come from."

In 2008 former House Speaker Rod Jetton was criticized for providing political consulting services while still in office.

But, Republican State Rep. Cynthia Davis from O'Fallon said the governor's intentions are a distraction from the real issues important to Missourians, and ethics reform won't accomplish much since any rule will probably have a loophole around it.

"If these legislators can't even get the Ten Commandments right, what makes us think if we add a whole other layer of 15 more rules we're going to make people more ethical?," Davis said.

Nixon said he thinks this issue will have sufficient bipartisan support as several proposals by both parties are already being proposed.

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