Flashback: “Corruption in the Legislature? Republicans say yes”

From the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, May 2013:

When Missouri Republicans level the charge of corruption at members of their own party, it’s time to start paying attention.

Such was the case not once, but twice on the last day of this year’s session of the Legislature…

Two years ago, we published a series called “Fix the Legislature” that identified three principal problems with the General Assembly: term limits, the redistricting process and campaign finance/ethics reform.

Each of them in its own way helped make this year’s one of the most forgettable legislative sessions in recent memory. Yet Republicans didn’t lift a finger to address ethics and campaign finance reform. They made only a half-hearted attempt to limit the damage of term limits. And the evils of gerrymandered districts were on full display as they traipsed from one conspiracy theory bill to another, all in a naked attempt to please the tiniest sliver of right-wing voters.

The Missouri Legislature remains a very broken place.

Don’t take our word for it. Listen to the Republicans who run the place.

It’s time for a change.

Here are the facts – The Clean Missouri amendment will:

  • lower campaign contribution limits for state legislative candidates
  • eliminate almost all lobbyist gifts
  • require politicians wait two years before becoming lobbyists
  • require that legislative records be open to the public
  • ensure that neither political party is given an unfair advantage when new maps are drawn after the next census, by asking a nonpartisan expert to draw fair legislative district maps, which would then be reviewed by a citizen commission
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We’re Going to Put Missourians Ahead of Big Donors, Lobbyists, and Partisan Politics

A diverse coalition of citizens and organizations are ramping up signature gathering efforts for the Clean Missouri initiative petition with a series of signature gathering trainings and canvasses this Saturday, May 20 in Springfield, Kansas City, and St. Louis.

Details for the regional events are as follows:

“When we get big money out of state politics, candidates work to win our votes, debate the issues, and represent us — their constituents,” said Rev. Starsky D. Wilson of St. Louis, President & CEO of the Deaconess Foundation and Pastor of Saint John’s Church. “Too often, the only people running for political offices are the rich, the well connected, or people who cave to special interests. It doesn’t have to be this way. The Clean Missouri amendment will level the playing field for the citizens who want to run for office because they understand the struggles of working families — and are tired of politicians ignoring them.”

“This measure will bring more transparency and fairness to Missouri government,” David Kimball, Professor of Political Science at the University of Missouri-St. Louis.

“We need a state government that is open, accountable, and not beholden to special interests,” said Bob Johnson, a Republican from Lee’s Summit who previously served in the General Assembly. “This amendment is a chance to take power away from special interests, and to increase integrity, transparency and accountability in government. I’m excited to be supporting the effort.”

The Secretary of State certified the Clean Missouri initiative for circulation in January 2017, and will appear on the November 2018 ballot if enough valid signatures are submitted by May 2018. Once enacted, it will:

  • lower campaign contribution limits for state legislative candidates
  • eliminate almost all lobbyist gifts in the General Assembly
  • require that House and Senate members wait two years before becoming lobbyists
  • require that legislative records be open to the public
  • ensure that that neither political party is given an unfair advantage when new maps are drawn after the next census, by asking a nonpartisan expert to draw fair legislative district maps, which would then be reviewed by a citizen commission
READ MORE