Republican support for Clean Missouri ballot measure continues to grow

Supporters include former US Senator John Danforth, Hon. Paul DeGregorio, State Senator Rob Schaaf, and numerous local officials

The Clean Missouri campaign today unveiled its “Republicans for Clean Missouri” coalition. These GOP leaders are joining a broad and growing coalition of Republicans, Democrats, independents, community leaders, and editorial boards across the state, including the Washington Missourian, Kansas City Star, and St. Louis Post-Dispatch, who have publicly endorsed the full package of desperately-needed reforms in the Clean Missouri initiative.

The legislative reform package will increase ethics, integrity, transparency, and accountability in state government.

The Republicans for Clean Missouri coalition includes:

  • Former U.S. Senator John Danforth
  • Hon. Paul DeGregorio, former Chair of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission and former St. Louis County Election Board Director
  • Trevor Potter, appointed to the Federal Election Commission by President George H.W. Bush; and president of the nonpartisan Campaign Legal Center
  • State Sen. Rob Schaaf
  • State Rep. Nick Marshall
  • Former State Senator and Current Lee’s Summit Councilmember Bob Johnson
  • Former Sen. Jim Lembke
  • Mayor Clifford Harvey, Weston
  • Dick Bauer, former Assistant Director, St. Louis County Election Board
  • Vern Middleton, Republican business leader
  • John & Gail Russell, Buchanan County GOP former committee members
  • John Saxton, St. Louis GOP Central Committee former member

Some individual endorsers’ statements include:

Former U.S. Sen. John Danforth (R-MO): “Clean Missouri creates an independent process with clear, transparent criteria to ensure no party is given an unfair advantage when new maps are drawn after the next census. Clean Missouri will ensure fair and competitive elections so elected officials cannot take their voters for granted and must earn their support. I’m proud to be part of a bipartisan group of reformers to ensure voters come first — and that Missourians’ voices will always be heard in our democracy. Clean Missouri will increase integrity, transparency, and accountability in state government.”

Paul DeGregorio, Former Chairman, U.S. Election Assistance Commission and former St. Louis County Election Board Director: “In recent years Missourians have experienced serious political corruption, much of it due to the influence of big money and the lack of ethics by public officials. There are many steps we need to take to address this serious issue. Clean Missouri is clearly a step in the right direction to put measures in place that will increase transparency and accountability, and give us more competitive elections.”

Sen. Rob Schaaf (R-St. Joseph): “Clean Missouri would eliminate almost all lobbyist gifts in the General Assembly, banning any single gift worth more than $5. … [T]here’s no such thing as a free lunch, and that’s why lobbyists give the gifts: they know they’ll get something in return.”

Former Senator and current Councilmember Bob Johnson (R-Lee’s Summit): “The Clean Missouri amendment will make sure legislators focus on important priorities, not what special interests and extremists want. Voters should be able to hold politicians accountable in fair and competitive general elections. That’s why I was an early supporter of the effort, and will be voting yes on November 6.”

Former Sen. Jim Lembke (R-Lemay): “Clean Missouri reforms our broken redistricting process, which is driven by insiders in both parties to protect powerful incumbents. Additionally, many conservative colleagues rightly criticize that the process often falls to judges who draw maps in secret. The Clean Missouri amendment sets out a fair process in which both parties would have a say in picking an independent expert, who then would draw fair, competitive maps according to clear, transparent criteria. Maps would then be reviewed by a citizen commission to ensure neither political party is given an unfair advantage, resulting in a plan that is representative of voters’ preferences. Districts would still be required to be compact and follow existing city or county lines where possible.”

Mayor Clifford Harvey of Weston, MO: “I signed the Clean Missouri Initiative petition, and will be voting for the desperately-needed amendment in November. … I’m a conservative Republican, but good government is something we should all be able to agree on. No matter which party you support, your elected officials should be working for you, for my own constituents, and for everyday Missourians.”

Former St. Louis Republican Central Committee Member John Saxton: “I gathered signatures for Clean Missouri, which would decrease the corrosive influence of special interest lobbyists and money, and make Republican votes like mine matter in otherwise safe Democratic districts. In light of the legislature’s lack of action to pass meaningful ethics laws, this is one major reform that fellow conservatives can join me in supporting.”

National conservative reform expert Trevor Potter, appointed to the Federal Election Commission by President George H.W. Bush, and current president of the nonpartisan Campaign Legal Center: “Clean Missouri addresses two of the major problems facing our democracy: partisan gerrymandering and the influence of special interests over elected officials… These common sense solutions would help ensure Missouri’s government reflects the will of its citizens.”

The Clean Missouri amendment will increase integrity, transparency and accountability in the Missouri General Assembly.

The Clean Missouri initiative will:

  • eliminate almost all lobbyist gifts in the General Assembly
  • lower campaign contribution limits for state legislative candidates
  • require politicians to 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 adding criteria for fairness and competitiveness of the overall map, which will be reviewed by a citizen commission and keep compact and contiguous districts

With its broad coalition of support from across the state, the Clean Missouri coalition submitted 346,956 signatures to the Secretary of State’s office on May 3, more than enough to qualify the initiative petition for the November 2018 ballot.

Signatures are now being counted and verified by local election authorities, and then the Clean Missouri amendment will be certified for the November 6, 2018 ballot.

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Report: How Missouri Lawmakers Ignore the Sunshine Law

Clean Missouri has released a new report on the lack of transparency in the General Assembly, by the numbers—with some colorful stories.

Official meetings are supposed to be open to the public, but there have been government meetings held in private country clubs, and journalists have even been denied access to public hearings. The state legislature even keeps their own records secret, yet expects others to follow open government laws.

A recent Missouri court ruling has allowed the legislature to essentially ignore some of the Sunshine Law, despite bipartisan agreement that the Missouri General Assembly needs to be more transparent and accountable.

A few highlights:

  • Both Republican and Democratic State Auditors have called for the legislature to come into compliance with the Sunshine Law.
  • Legislators from both parties have refused to turn over their emails to reporters in Sunshine requests. At the same time, legislators from both parties have demonstrated that compliance is possible.
  • Reporters and citizens have been denied the right to record public hearings.
  • Legislative committees have met in private country clubs and restaurants instead of publicly accessible hearing rooms where proceedings may have been recorded. Beyond what has been disclosed in lobbyist gift records, official House journals show committees have held sham hearings all over Jefferson City at private locations — including 16 at the Jefferson City Country Club and an additional 16 times at other eateries around town. At least seven sham hearings were held in the offices of special interests with business before the state.

The full report is available at http://www.cleanmissouri.org/sunshine.

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Volunteer signature gatherers excited to increase integrity in Jeff City this November

Year after year, the Missouri General Assembly has failed to limit the food, drinks, tickets, and travel that politicians take from paid lobbyists. Legislators accept an average of $885,022 in gifts from lobbyists each year.

“People are frustrated,” says volunteer Will Bolden of Olivette. So in 2017, he and other concerned Missourians hit the streets for a year to gather signatures for the Clean Missouri ballot initiative to increase integrity, transparency, and accountability in Jefferson City.

By May 2018, more than 1600 volunteers and canvassers had gathered 346,956 signatures, more than enough to place it onto the November 2018 ballot. Among other desperately needed reforms, the Clean Missouri initiative will eliminate almost all lobbyist gifts in the General Assembly by banning any single gift worth more than $5.

Here are the stories of a few of those volunteers who are looking forward to passing Clean Missouri in November 2018 and seeing their hard work pay off on Election Day.

John Saxton lives in St. Louis, and is a former member of the city’s Republican Central Committee. He gathered about 80 signatures for Clean Missouri, mostly at a library and at his neighborhood meeting. John cares deeply about integrity in government, previously ran as the Republican nominee for state House, and knocked doors for John McCain because of his commitment to ending the dominance of big money special interests. He’s also looking forward to having Republican votes like his matter in otherwise safe Democratic districts. John enjoyed interacting with his neighbors who responded well and agreed on the need for change. He’s planning to speak this summer and fall on the need to pass Clean Missouri.

Laura Umphenour lives in Springfield. She has been frustrated for a long time that the legislature ignores the voices of Missourians because of the influence of big money special interests. Over the last year, Laura gathered over 1200 signatures, mostly at libraries. She also gathered downtown, at events, at parks, at the DMV, and at community centers. Laura enjoyed that people from across the political spectrum would respond well when she told them what the Clean Missouri ballot initiative would do for our state when Missourians vote it into the Constitution. Laura has hand-made Clean Missouri signs in her yard, and is looking forward to a summer and fall of telling neighbors “vote yes on November 6!”

Martin Tennant lives in Kansas City. He gathered many of his 200 signatures at the Brookside St. Patrick’s Day parade, and outside a church on Brookside Boulevard at voting time. He says he enjoyed “feeling like I was doing something tangible to repair voters’ distrust of the electoral process and of our elected representatives’ motives. I was also pleased with how many voters expressed their appreciation for our efforts to clean up Missouri politics. I felt thankful that we have this petitioning process.”

John Bohney lives in Chesterfield. He gathered 1600 signatures, most of them at libraries and special events. He enjoyed interacting with like-minded people, and tells a funny story about one woman who was signing a petition. “One time I was holding the signature board, and the lady’s hand inadvertently pressed against mine. I said, ‘What will my wife say when I tell her we were holding hands?’ She said, ‘You might tell her I’m 87 years old.’”

Will Bolden lives in Olivette. He gathered about 60 signatures at churches and in a Kirkwood neighborhood. “We just rolled up our sleeves and said let’s get it done. We grabbed our sheets and went out the door. People were responsive and receptive to what we were doing. We had good reception everywhere,” he said. “When we were in Kirkwood that Saturday, it was hot. I mean HOT. It was very humid, but we made it OK—it was worth it because we want to get big money out of politics. All of the people we talked to agreed with the mission. People are frustrated.”

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Report: Missouri Lawmakers Take An Average of $885,000 in Lobbyist Gifts Every Year

Today, Clean Missouri released a new report on the Jeff City lobbyist gift culture, by the numbers—with a few colorful stories, as well.

A few highlights:

  • Lobbyists have reported giving an average of $885,020 in gifts to the Missouri General Assembly every year, for years 2004-2017.
  • The reported gift total for 2017 of $1,070,653 is the highest on record at the Missouri Ethics Commision. The second highest reported total was $1,006,050 in 2006. In just the first few months of 2018 for which records are available, legislators had already taken $248,004 in freebies.
  • Almost 70% of the gifts reported since 2004 — more than $8 million worth — have been reported as going to legislative caucuses, committees, and groups. This loophole in reporting effectively hides from public view which legislators, staffers and family members are taking most of the gifts in Missouri.
  • Missouri’s lobbyist gift culture crosses partisan lines. Of the top 10 gift recipients from 2004 to 2018, six have been Democratic lawmakers, four Republicans. Meanwhile, a growing bipartisan group of House and Senate leaders have sworn off gifts entirely, showing the way forward for a gift-free Jefferson City. Forty-seven state representatives and ten state senators have zero dollar balances for 2018 in the Missouri Ethics Commission’s lobbyist gift database.
  • Legislative leadership has repeatedly broken promises and failed to reform lobbyist gifts. Dozens of reform bills have been filed in the past decade, by legislators of both parties — but the General Assembly remains a no-limits world when it comes to free booze, food, tickets, junkets and other gifts.
  • Every one of our bordering states has stronger limits on lobbyist gifts than Missouri.

The full report is available at http://www.cleanmissouri.org/lobbyists.

Missourians will have the opportunity to end Jefferson City’s lobbyist gift culture for good by passing the Clean Missouri initiative on the November ballot. The Clean Missouri measure will ban any single gift worth more than $5. Full initiative text is available here.

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A Broad Coalition of Support for Clean Missouri

The Clean Missouri coalition is showing that even in 2018, conservatives and progressives can come together to ensure that voters’ voices are heard in Jefferson City. A growing number of Republicans, Democrats, and independents have publicly endorsed the full package of desperately-needed reforms in the Clean Missouri initiative.

Examples of public support for Clean Missouri include:

  • Sen. Rob Schaaf (R-St. Joseph): “Clean Missouri would eliminate almost all lobbyist gifts in the General Assembly, banning any single gift worth more than $5. … [T]here’s no such thing as a free lunch, and that’s why lobbyists give the gifts: they know they’ll get something in return.”
  • Rev. Starsky D. Wilson of St. Louis, President & CEO of the Deaconess Foundation and Pastor of Saint John’s Church: “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.”
  • Former Sen. Jim Lembke (R-Lemay): “Clean Missouri reforms our broken redistricting process, which is driven by insiders in both parties to protect powerful incumbents. Additionally, many conservative colleagues rightly criticize that the process often falls to judges who draw maps in secret. The Clean Missouri amendment sets out a fair process in which both parties would have a say in picking an independent expert, who then would draw fair, competitive maps according to clear, transparent criteria. Maps would then be reviewed by a citizen commission to ensure neither political party is given an unfair advantage, resulting in a plan that is representative of voters’ preferences. Districts would still be required to be compact and follow existing city or county lines where possible.”
  • Pastor Cassandra Gould, Executive Director of Missouri Faith Voices: “Lobbyists and a small group of big donors have too much control over Missouri state government. But it doesn’t have to be this way. We’re going to make our state government more transparent, limit the power of big money in our legislature, and make sure we can hold legislators accountable when they fail to act in the public’s interest.”
  • Rhonda Perry, a grain and livestock farmer from Howard County, and the Program Director for the Missouri Rural Crisis Center: “Big money and powerful lobbyists drive the agenda at the Capitol, and political insiders draw the districts to protect their own jobs — not ours. We need to level the playing field for ordinary citizens, and that’s why I’m excited to support Clean Missouri.”
  • Former Senator and current Councilmember Bob Johnson (R-Lee’s Summit): “The Clean Missouri amendment will make sure legislators focus on important priorities, not what special interests and extremists want. Voters should be able to hold politicians accountable in fair and competitive general elections. That’s why I was an early supporter of the effort, and will be voting yes on November 6.”
  • Mayor Clifford Harvey of Weston, MO: “I signed the Clean Missouri Initiative petition, and will be voting for the desperately-needed amendment in November. … I’m a conservative Republican, but good government is something we should all be able to agree on. No matter which party you support, your elected officials should be working for you, for my own constituents, and for everyday Missourians.”
  • Former St. Louis Republican Central Committee Member John Saxton: “I gathered signatures for Clean Missouri, which would decrease the corrosive influence of special interest lobbyists and money, and make Republican votes like mine matter in otherwise safe Democratic districts. In light of the legislature’s lack of action to pass meaningful ethics laws, this is one major reform that fellow conservatives can join me in supporting.”
  • National conservative reform expert Trevor Potter, appointed to the Federal Election Commission by President George H.W. Bush, and current president of the nonpartisan Campaign Legal Center: “Clean Missouri addresses two of the major problems facing our democracy: partisan gerrymandering and the influence of special interests over elected officials… These common sense solutions would help ensure Missouri’s government reflects the will of its citizens.”

The Clean Missouri amendment will increase integrity, transparency and accountability in the Missouri General Assembly. It will:

  • lower campaign contribution limits for state legislative candidates
  • eliminate almost all lobbyist gifts in the General Assembly
  • require politicians to 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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Jeff City politicians broke their promise to ban lobbyist gifts. Again.

The Missouri General Assembly has adjourned without taking any action to end Jefferson City’s obscene lobbyist gift culture.

Again.

Missourians are done waiting for politicians and lobbyists in Jefferson City to clean up their act.

Since 2004, lobbyists have given an average of $885,020 worth of free meals, drinks, tickets and other gifts to members of the General Assembly, their staff members, and their family members. Just last year, lobbyists reported a whopping $1,070,653 in gifts to the General Assembly.

 

To make matters worse, 68% of the gifts reported to the Missouri Ethics Commission since 2004 have been listed as going to legislative groups, meaning Missourians have no idea who actually accepted $8,660,463 worth of gifts in the past 15 years.

The Clean Missouri initiative will eliminate almost all lobbyist gifts in the General Assembly by banning any single gift worth more than $5.

With its broad coalition of support from across the state, the Clean Missouri coalition submitted 346,956 signatures to the Secretary of State’s office on May 3, more than enough to qualify the initiative petition for the November 2018 ballot.

A growing number of Republicans, Democrats, and independents have publicly endorsed the full package of desperately-needed reforms in the Clean Missouri initiative to increase integrity, transparency and accountability in the Missouri General Assembly.

Signatures will now be counted and verified by local election authorities, and then the Clean Missouri amendment will be certified for the November 6, 2018 ballot.

Year House Senate Group Total
2004 $124,169.18 $27,621.73 $822,777.41 $974,568.32
2005 $121,438.86 $46,188.79 $823,886.63 $991,514.28
2006 $130,518.74 $51,622.09 $823,909.48 $1,006,050.31
2007 $238,936.73 $82,006.16 $581,903.88 $902,846.77
2008 $214,720.10 $86,581.75 $621,931.94 $923,233.79
2009 $265,010.19 $114,100.03 $536,343.41 $915,453.63
2010 $243,514.30 $100,886.58 $508,716.20 $853,117.08
2011 $232,563.80 $117,482.22 $597,990.53 $948,036.55
2012 $223,114.15 $104,293.33 $540,691.04 $868,098.52
2013 $229,757.82 $113,090.48 $612,147.69 $954,995.99
2014 $188,888.63 $73,856.28 $587,820.60 $850,565.51
2015 $204,723.28 $76,725.73 $327,747.87 $609,196.88
2016 $175,194.18 $62,508.87 $284,252.01 $521,955.06
2017 $140,625.92 $63,347.24 $866,680.06 $1,070,653.22
2018 (Jan-Mar) $39,950.93 $20,217.17 $123,664.58 $183,832.68
Grand Total $2,773,126.81 $1,140,528.45 $8,660,463.33 $12,574,118.59
Average $195,226.85 $80,022.23 $609,771.34 $885,020.42
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Clean Missouri signature turn-in makes major news all over TV, radio, and print

TV, radio, and newspaper outlets all over our state covered the Clean Missouri coalition’s historic signature turn-in of 346,956 signatures on Thursday, May 3 to increase integrity, transparency, and accountability in government.

Here are some of the highlights. Click the outlet name to see the full story.

Kansas City Star
Missouri lawmakers won’t clean up government corruption. Voters should do it for them
By The Kansas City Star Editorial Board
May 3, 2018

The vote can’t come soon enough. As recent events have shown, Missouri is one of the most unethical states in the union. And lawmakers have shown little willingness to address the problem. …

These reforms are essential. The revolving door between the floors of the General Assembly and lobbying jobs turns constantly. …

Opposition to the Clean Missouri reforms is already gathering. This should not be a surprise. In a state where Eric Greitens still serves as governor, resistance to ethical government is predictable. …

Voters, not lawmakers, need to wash the mud from Missouri government. They’ll almost certainly get the chance this year.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Messenger: Thursday was spring cleaning day in Missouri’s capital city
Tony Messenger – May 4, 2018

Republican Joe Ortwerth of St. Peters and Democrat Doug Harpool of Springfield, … in 1991, after Ashcroft’s measure failed to make the ballot, pushed for the law that ultimately created the Missouri Ethics Commission.

It wasn’t strong enough, and that’s why Clean Missouri is back at it today, with a proposal supported by liberals and conservatives alike.

One of those conservatives, former state Sen. Jim Lembke, R-Lemay, offered a bit of a mea culpa the other day. In a column in the Post-Dispatch that supported the Clean Missouri effort, Lembke, who was known for taking lobbyists’ gifts during his time in the Legislature, wrote this:

“I saw things go off the rails in 2017, with lobbyist gifts reaching an all-time high: over $1 million worth,” wrote Lembke, currently a legislative aide to Schaaf. “Looking back, if I got the opportunity to serve again, I’d do it differently, and it’s time for Clean Missouri to reform the system once and for all.” …

Voters will get their chance in November.

KMOV (CBS) – St. Louis, MO
CBS This Morning

Today a group of volunteers will be pushing in Jefferson City pushing for stricter limits on lawmakers. … It would lower campaign contribution limits, require politician to wait two years to becoming lobbyists, and require that legislative records be open to the public. The group is hoping to get the amendment on the November ballot.

Columbia Missourian
Ballot petition supports open records and limits on lobbying, donations
May 3, 2018

State Sen. Rob Schaaf, R-St. Joseph, addressed the ballot petition from the Senate floor Thursday.

Schaaf has been a vocal advocate of lobbying reform.

“This body had an opportunity to address the issue and didn’t do it,” Schaaf said. “People in Missouri are fed up with this.” …

The Rev. Cassandra Gould, pastor at Quinn Chapel A.M.E. Church in Jefferson City and executive director of Missouri Faith Voices, said Thursday that lobbyists, large donors and small groups of political insiders have too much influence in the Capitol.

“When I think of what goes on in Jefferson City, I’m reminded of the prophet Amos,” Gould said. “(Amos) said, ‘For I know your crimes are many, and your sins are innumerable. They oppress the righteous, take bribes, and deprive the poor of justice at the city gates.’”

She said the people of Missouri are united to end “systemic corruption” in the Missouri legislature.

Khadijah Wilson, a leader with the Organization for Black Struggle, said she believes the amendment will make it possible for more people to run for office.

“Too often, the only people running for political offices are the rich or the well-connected, or the people who cave to special interests,” Wilson said. “This amendment levels the playing field.”

John Saxton, a St. Louis Republican who ran twice for the Missouri House of Representatives, advocated for the state demographer position that the ballot measure would establish. Under the proposal, the demographer would be chosen by the Senate majority and minority leaders from a list of at least three candidates offered by the state auditor.

“Year after year, insiders draw lines to protect and reelect powerful incumbents, whether or not they represent the public interest,” Saxton said. “Most districts in our state are not competitive.” …

Callaway County farmer Jeff Jones said he talks to his legislators about agricultural policy.

“But the legislative leadership takes millions of dollars in big-money donations,” said Jones, who is a leader with the Missouri Rural Crisis Center. “They have not been hearing my voice.”

Missouri Times
Clean Missouri submits 346K signatures for initiative petition dealing with ethical issues in legislature
By Alisha Shurr – MAY 3, 2018

“Lobbyists and a small group of big donors have too much control over Missouri state government,” said Rev. Cassandra Gould of Jefferson City. “But it doesn’t have to be this way. We’re going to make our state government more transparent, limit the power of big money in our legislature, and make sure we can hold legislators accountable when they fail to act in the public’s interest.”

“We’re not waiting on the politicians and lobbyists to fix themselves,” said Jeff Jones, a [fourth]-generation farmer in Callaway County. “We can all see how big money drives the agenda in Jefferson City, and we’ve had enough.”

KMOX-AM (Radio) – St. Louis, MO
News at 5
5/3/2018 5:08 PM

Khadijah Wilson from Saint Louis is a leader with the Organization for Black Struggle. “This amendment levels the playing field, making it easier for citizens to run for office. That is good for Missouri’s democracy, and we need more regular people looking out for us.”

KOMU (NBC) – Columbia, MO
KOMU News at Five
5/3/2018 5:05 PM

Martin Tennant from Kansas City: “I really feel as though I’ve been a small part of a really historic change in Missouri, and a change for the better. I’m really looking forward to seeing seeing the positive effects this initiative has, on the way Missouri is run.”

Fulton Sun & Jefferson City News Tribune
Clean Missouri petitioners turn in about 347,000 signatures
May 4, 2018 by Joe Gamm

Fulton Sun coverage of turn-in featuring Jeff Jones

Rev. Cassandra Gould … said the activities that occur in Jefferson City remind her of the words of the prophet Amos, who said: “For I know your crimes are many and your sins are innumerable. They oppress the righteous, take bribes and deprive the poor of justice at the city gates.”

Among speakers was Jeff Jones, a farmer from Callaway County who said he has been discussing agriculture policy with legislative leaders but they have not listened. Legislative leaders take millions of dollars from big agriculture and don’t hear his voice, he said.

Elizabeth Davidson, of St. Louis County, said she wants legislators to focus on solutions to everyday Missourians’ concerns, such as health care. Instead, she said, they cater to lobbyists who push extreme agendas, some of whom gave more than a million dollars in gifts to legislators last year.

“No matter which party you support, that isn’t right,” Davidson said. …

John Bohney, of St. Louis, gathered more than 1,600 signatures for the petition. He said the initiative is a chance to increase integrity in government.

“Together, we can take back power from special interests and give it to the people,” Bohney said.

KOMU (NBC) – Columbia, MO
KOMU News at Six

Laura Umphenour from Springfield: “We will be excited about voting again, and we will be excited about being a part of our government, and how we are going to direct missouri in the future – how the people are gonna direct Missouri.”


KRCG (CBS) – Columbia, MO
KRCG 13 Live at 6 PM

A group that wants to ban a lobbyist gifts to Missouri lawmakers has turned in nearly 347,000 signatures to get a question on November’s ballot that would let voters decide the issue. The ballot initiative by Clean Missouri would make it subject to the states open records law, lower limits on campaign contributions, and change ow legislative districts are drawn.


KQFX (FOX) – Columbia, MO
ABC17 News at 9 on Fox 22

A group that wants to ban lobbyists gifts turned in thousands of signatures today to get a question on November’s ballot. The initiative, submitted by the organization Clean Missouri, would also make state lawmakers’ records open to Missouri’s open records law and it would lower campaign contributions. Right now, there are no limits on lobbyists gifts and lawmakers are exempt from the open records law.


WGEM (NBC) – Quincy, IL
WGEM News Today

There’s a push to make big changes to politics in Jefferson City. Yesterday a group called Clean Missouri submitted signatures to get a question that would ban most lobbyist gifts to lawmakers on the November ballot, letting voters decide. The ballot initiative would also make lawmakers’ records subject to the state’s open records law, lower limits on campaign contributions, and change how legislative districts are drawn.

KTTN – Trenton, MO
Missouri voters to decide on initiative targeting corruption in government

Rev. Cassandra Gould said there is agreement that political insiders, big donors, and lobbyists wield too much influence in state government. So her group is fighting to take back control and even the playing field for all Missourians.

“I would say that there is overwhelming – on both sides of the aisle – there is an overwhelming, unified response to being able to do this,” she said.

The amendment also would require legislative records be open to the public to boost transparency. Signatures were collected from all of Missouri’s 114 counties.

FOX2NOW St. Louis via Associated Press
Signatures submitted to ban lobbyist gifts, cap donations
May 3, 2018

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – A group that wants to ban lobbyist gifts to Missouri lawmakers has turned in signatures to get a question on November’s ballot that would let voters decide the issue. …

Currently, there are no limits on lobbyist gifts, although they must be reported, and lawmakers are exempt from the open records law.

Southeast Missourian via Associated Press
News Roundup
May 4, 2018

The ballot initiative, submitted Thursday by an organization called Clean Missouri, would also make lawmakers’ records subject to the state’s open records law, lower limits on campaign contributions and change how legislative districts are drawn. It would ban lobbyist gifts over $5.

KCTV (CBS) – Kansas City
News at 4
May 4, 2018

In Missouri, a group that wants to ban most lobbyist gifts to lawmakers has turned in signatures to get a question on November’s ballot. The ballot initiative is by an organization called Clean Missouri. It would also make lawmakers’ records subject to the state’s open records law, lower limits on campaign contributions and change how legislative districts are drawn.

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We. Did. It. Clean Missouri just submitted 346,956 signatures!

On Thursday, May 3, the Clean Missouri coalition submitted 346,956 signatures to the Secretary of State’s office in Jefferson City, more than enough to qualify the initiative petition for the November 2018 ballot! The constitutional amendment will increase integrity, transparency and accountability in state government.

Volunteers who have been part of the signature gathering effort gathered for the submission of more than 200 boxes of petitions with signatures, gathered by over 1600 volunteers and canvassers, from all 115 counties in Missouri.

This would not have been possible without the tireless volunteers, dedicated coalition members, and 24,449 donations from supporters!

Watch and share the video:

The Clean Missouri amendment will increase integrity, transparency and accountability in our state legislature. It will:

  • lower campaign contribution limits for state legislative candidates
  • eliminate almost all lobbyist gifts in the General Assembly
  • require politicians to 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 state legislative district maps, which would then be reviewed by a citizen commission

“Lobbyists and a small group of big donors have too much control over Missouri state government,” said Rev. Cassandra Gould of Jefferson City. “But it doesn’t have to be this way. We’re going to make our state government more transparent, limit the power of big money in our legislature, and make sure we can hold legislators accountable when they fail to act in the public’s interest.”

“Lobbyists reported giving more than $1 million in gifts to legislators of both parties last year, and almost $900,000 a year on average. That’s nuts!” said Laura Umphenour of Springfield. “No matter what party you believe in, this isn’t right.”

“We’re not waiting on the politicians and lobbyists to fix themselves,” said Jeff Jones, a fourth-generation farmer in Callaway County. “We can all see how big money drives the agenda in Jefferson City, and we’ve had enough.”

“We need a state government that is open and accountable one that puts people ahead of lobbyists, wealthy donors or partisan politics,” said Elizabeth Davidson of St. Louis County.

“We’ve got a bipartisan problem in Jefferson City, and Clean Missouri is a bipartisan solution,” said Martin Tennant of Kansas City. “I’m grateful we get to vote for it and pass it this November.”

“Year after year, political appointees draw district lines to help re-elect party insiders, even if they haven’t represented the best interests of their constituents,” said John Saxton of St. Louis, a former member of the St. Louis City Republican Central Committee. “Voters should be picking politicians, but it’s upside down right now: political insiders are picking their voters. This amendment will require that maps be crafted with clear, transparent criteria to ensure fair and competitive districts, and that a nonpartisan expert is part of the process. That’s a big reason I gathered signatures for Clean Missouri.”

“When we get big money out of state politics, we force candidates to earn our votes, debate the issues, and represent us — their constituents,” explained Khadijah Wilson of St. Louis. “Too often, the only people running for political office are the rich or well connected, or people who cave to special interests once they are elected. This amendment levels the playing field, making it easier for citizens to run for office. That is good for Missouri’s democracy, and we need more regular people looking out for us.”

“The Clean Missouri amendment will make sure legislators focus on important priorities, not what special interests and extremists want,” said former Republican state senator and current Lee’s Summit Councilmember Bob Johnson. “Voters should be able to hold politicians accountable in fair and competitive general elections. That’s why I was an early supporter of the effort, and will be voting yes on November 6.”

Signatures will now be counted and verified by local election authorities, and then the Clean Missouri amendment will be certified for the November 6, 2018 ballot.

Now it’s time to get the word out and win! To get help increase integrity, transparency, and accountability in government, visit http://www.cleanmissouri.org/volunteer.

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In the News: What They’re Saying About Clean Missouri

The Clean Missouri initiative continues to gain momentum and earn the support of Missourians who are ready to give everyday people a bigger voice in our state government.

The strong reforms to our General Assembly have earned broad, bipartisan support from thousands of Missourians who have helped collect signatures to make sure we’re on the November ballot.

Here’s a look at what people are saying:

JOSEPH NEWS-PRESS: CLEAN MISSOURI BALLOT PROPOSAL PUTS MISSOURIANS FIRST IN JEFF CITY

Massive sums of money from lobbyists and wealthy campaign contributors have pushed political influence out of constituents’ hands and into those of special interests, according to a reform group proposing amendments to the Missouri Constitution it says will return rightful power to voters.

KQTV: CLEAN MISSOURI INITIATIVE AIMS TO STOP “CORRUPTION” IN STATE GOVERNMENT

Two local lawmakers were in St. Joseph on Thursday pushing for an initiative that would, if passed, work to ‘clean up’ Jefferson City politics.

LETTER IN THE ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH: ETHICS COMMISSION SCANDAL SHOWS OUR FREEDOM IS UNDER ATTACK

This is why I voted for Ron Paul 10 years ago, this is why I volunteer for Represent St. Louis, and this is why I took Sen. Schaaf’s lead and gathered signatures this year for Clean Missouri, a ballot initiative with bipartisan support to reform ethics in the Legislature.

Help us continue our momentum!

Sign up to volunteer–host a house party, submit a letter to the editor, talk to voters, or host us at your local club or place of worship–to help make Clean Missouri a reality.


SIGN UP HERE

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Without Reform, Lobbyist Gift Totals Keep Rising

The numbers are in, and 2017 was the worst year on record for lobbyist gifts. Last year, lobbyists reported giving $1,067,143.50 in gifts to Missouri legislators.

This means, the average total amount of gifts given by lobbyists since 2004 rises to $880,000. That’s almost a million dollars every year in free booze, expensive dinners, and fancy vacations.

But the worst part – we still don’t know who really took most of the gifts given due to a major loophole allowing lobbyists to report their gifts to ‘groups’ or ‘committees.’

But the worst part – we still don’t know who really took most of the gifts given due to a major loophole allowing lobbyists to report their gifts to ‘groups’ or ‘committees.’

But the worst part – we still don’t know who really took most of the gifts given due to a major loophole allowing lobbyists to report their gifts to ‘groups’ or ‘committees.’

We’re ready to create a government that works for voters, not special interest lobbyists and wealthy donors.


Are you?

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