Missouri is a wide-open state with no limits on campaign contributions and numerous ways donors can hide who they are. But the state’s top elections official thinks its time that situation came to and end and is proposing tough campaign contribution limits and tough penalties for those who violate them.
Secretary of State Jason Kander’s 200-page proposal says no one can give more than $2600 in each election cycle to any statewide candidate, no more than $1000 per cycle to state senate candidates and no more than $500 per House candidates. “We have the worst ethics laws and campaign finance laws in the country,” he says, “and we have overwhelming support for doing something like this from the people of Missouri…Why hasn’t this already happened? That should be the question for this legislature.”
Kander also would give the Missouri Ethics Commission the power to fine—and jail—people who get around the law or lie to the commission about their involvement. Parts of his bill are from other legislation proposed by Republican and Democratic lawmakers. “The only place in the entire state where this is a controversial issue is in the Capitol,” he says.
His bill also bans lobbyists gifts to lawmakers, statewide elected officials, and their staffs. It has been introduced in the House by Representative Kevin McManus of Kansas City.