The top Democrat in the Missouri House is pushing a campaign contribution limit proposal favored by the party’s main gubernatorial candidate, number two man in the State Senate says that bill isn’t going anywhere.
House Minority Leader Paul LeVota (D-Independence) wants the current campaign contribution limits extended to cover political parties as well as candidates. LeVota dismisses suggestions that the parties and candidates will find a way around limits by simply forming multiple committees. LeVota notes those committees still will be subject to the limits and that should reduce the amount of money involved in campaigns.
Political parties can, under current law, give 10 times the limits for individuals, which range from $325 to $1,275 depending on the office. Donors who want to contribute more than the limits allow often give to political parties which can then forward the money to the candidate, circumventing the limits.
The State Supreme Court threw out the law that lifted campaign contribution limits in its July 19, 2007 decision Trout v. State of Missouri . It made the ruling retroactive in a supplemental decision handed down August 27, 2007 . Within that supplemental ruling, though, the court left a door open for the legislature to return to the issue. It stated that its ruling didn’t preclude the General Assembly from enacting new legislation that constitutionally lifts campaign limits entirely.
LeVota’s idea is backed by Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jay Nixon and it’s not going anywhere according to Senate Majority Floor Leader Charlie Shields (R-St. Joseph) who says politicians have become adept at getting around such limits. Shields supports lifting the limits. He supports lifting the limits in favor of full disclosure, with a requirement that contributions of at least $5,000 be electronically reported within 48 hours. Shields acknowledges it’s often difficult to push election legislation during an election year.