A Supreme Court ruling reinstating campaign contribution limits didn’t necessary rule lifting the limits unconstitutional. Lawmakers now must decide how to react to that ruling. There doesn’t appear to be much enthusiasm for revisiting the issue, though, at least not right away.
State Sen. Tim Green (D-Florissant) pushed for lifting the limits, tacking it on an ethics bill working its way through the legislature in 2006. Green says campaign contribution limits simply haven’t worked. He points out that since campaign contribution limits were instituted in 1994, political campaigns have become increasingly more expensive.
Green says the amount of money in campaigns has just grown immensely, "It’s like pouring kerosene on a fire. It has just exploded."
Green says his proposal would have exchanged lifting campaign contribution limits for disclosing who makes political donations and how much they give. He says that would have allowed the public to understand who is trying to buy government.
The Supreme Court ruled against lifting the limits on a technicality involving the appeal. The court stated, "…this Court’s July 19 decision does not preclude the legislature from again enacting legislation lifting limits on campaign contributions." The opinion that clarified the ruling reinstating campaign contribution limits added, "Nothing in the July 19 decision precludes the legislature from enacting, in general or special session, new legislation that constitutionally lifts campaign limits entirely."
Still, Senate Majority Floor Leader Charlie Shields (R-St. Joseph) is not enthusiastic about tackling the issue next year, since it’s an election year. Shields says he still supports the concept. He agrees with Green that campaign contribution limits don’t work and he believes full disclosure would give the public a better glimpse of politics. Shields says that before he would attempt again to lift the limits he would have to determine whether enough senators are willing to try again before he decides to push the issue.