Sexual relations between lobbyists and state lawmakers or staff would have to be reported as gifts under a bill introduced in the state House. Bill sponsor Bart Korman (R-High Hill) said the issue should be a part of ethics reform.
“House bill 2059 basically defines the sexual relation as a gift so that it can be reported like other gifts from lobbyists, so that it’s a transparent way for people to know what’s going on,” said Korman. “In the effort of transparency, accountability and integrity, I filed the bill.”
Korman said sexual relations between lobbyists and state legislators or staff could compromise a lawmaker’s decision on a bill.
“Last year, there were a few members of the general assembly that had some sexual allegations of different sorts. This year, we were looking at doing some ethics reforms. There was actually nothing on the books that required any reporting of relationships between lobbyists and lawmakers or their staff,” said Korman.
Former House Speaker John Diehl, Jr. and former Senator Paul LeVota both resigned last year following allegations of sexual misconduct by former capitol interns.
Ethics reform is a priority for both chambers and Governor Nixon this year. Proposals include a ban on lobbyist gifts, changes to campaign financing and closing of the so-called “revolving door” for lawmakers to become lobbyists after leaving office.
Under Korman’s bill, lobbyists would be required to file a report with the state Ethics commission, just like they are supposed to do with any gift given to a state lawmaker.
Exemptions would include relationships between married individuals or those in relationships prior to registering or being hired as a lobbyist or elected into office.