A week before the start of the 2010 session of the General Assembly Governor Jay Nixon has outlined a set ethics reform proposals designed to, in the words of the Governor, “strengthen the credibility of Missouri’s elected officials and the confidence of those they serve.”
The four proposals are contained in a letter Nixon has sent to each member of the Legislature. He also discussed those proposals in a telephone conference call with Missouri reporters. First and foremost is a return to campaign contribution limits.
“We need to enact strict campaign contribution limits,” said Nixon in the conference call. “Missouri voters have spoken loudly and clearly. They want real controls over the influence of money in politics. In 1994, 74 percent of Missourians voted for tough contribution limits. I’ve always been a strong supporter of limits and I believe we need to get them back on the books right here in Missouri.”
The second proposal deals with the practice of contributing to political committees which, in turn, make contributions to campaigns.
“We also need to eliminate the shady committee to committee transfers,” said Nixon. “These loopholes undermine transparency and weaken contribution limits. It’s time to eliminate this practice once and for all.”
The third reform would prohibit elected officials from receiving payment for political consulting services. The fourth would end the practice of legislators serving as lobbyists of the legislative branch immediately after their term in office.
“We must close the revolving door between the Legislature and lobbying by prohibiting legislators from serving as registered lobbyists of the Legislature for a reasonable period of time after they leave office,” said Nixon. “Missourians expect their legislators to represent the interests of the voters.”
In putting forward his four elements of reform, Nixon acknowledges there could be others that should be considered, but maintains the four serve as the foundation of ethics reform efforts.