Missouri House Democrats have unveiled a government accountability package – the key component of which is a call for the restoration of campaign contribution limits.
House Minority Leader Paul LeVota (D-Independence) points out voters first imposed financing limits in 1994 with 73.9 percent support. Those limits were done away with earlier this year by the General Assembly.
While he wants limits restored, LeVota’s proposal would increase the maximum amounts that could be contributed to candidates. Limits would $500 for a House candidate, $1,000 for a Senate candidate, and $2,000 for a candidate running for statewide office. The old law had limits of $325 for a House candidate, $675 for a Senate candidate, and $1,350 for anyone running for statewide office.
LeVota’s bill would also prohibit political party committees from donating to candidates, saying these committees have been used by both Democrats and Republicans to funnel large amounts of money to candidates while hiding the original funding source. Prior to the limits being abolished, these political party committees were allowed to contribute ten times the amount an individual could donate to a candidate.
Among the other proposals making up the accountability package is legislation being put forward by Representative Jake Zimmerman (D-Olivette) to close what is being called the revolving door between elected office and the lobbying corps. Lawmakers, statewide elected officials, and members of their staffs would be prohibited from working as paid lobbyists for one year after leaving office or state employment.
Another bill would prohibit state lawmakers from working as paid political consultants while in office. Yet another aims to remove partisanship from the legislative redistricting process by having state demographers follow detailed, geographically based criteria without regard to partisan concerns. The next redistricting cycle begins in 2011.