April 1, 2011 •
Bill’s Provision Relating to Campaign Finance Found Void, Procurement Provision Stand
Cole County Circuit Court Judge Daniel Green ruled that Senate Bill 844, which became effective August 28, 2010, is unconstitutional because it covers multiple subjects. The Missouri constitution requires that bills contain only one subject.
The bill sharply restricted transfers between campaign committees, boosted the enforcement powers of the Missouri Ethics Commission, and created measures aimed at reducing situations in which candidates channeled money through several committees to obscure their source. The court found that the procurement measures in the bill were the “original controlling purpose,” and thus should be upheld while all other measures relating to campaign finance are void.
January 12, 2011 •
Senate Bill 75 Would Create New Campaign Contribution Limits and Enhance Revolving Door Law
Senate Bill 75, introduced to the Legislature on the first day of session, seeks to reinstate the state’s campaign contribution limits. The bill limits contributions to $2,000 for statewide office, $1,000 for state senators, $500 for state representatives, $325 for any other office if the population is under 100,000, $850 if it is between 100,000 and 250,000, and $1,275 if the population is more than 250,000.
The bill also alters the state’s revolving door provision by preventing legislators from becoming lobbyists for two years after leaving office.
Photo of the Missouri State Capitol by Visitjeffersoncity on Wikipedia.
December 9, 2010 •
Bank Challenges Missouri SB 844’s Limits on Political Contributions; Bill Sponsor Seeks Change in Law
Legends Bank is seeking to block enforcement of Missouri’s new ethics law, found in Senate Bill 844, which took effect August 28. Legends Bank and its president filed suit Monday in Cole County Circuit Court citing language that limits the bank’s right to make political donations. Senate Bill 844 sought to limit politicians’ ability to conceal the source of money by moving it through several political action committees.
Legends Bank claims that in determining which individuals and entities can donate to political action committees, lawmakers appear to have limited the ability of state-chartered banks to donate. Republican Senate president pro-tem Charlie Shields, who sponsored Senate Bill 844, stated to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch the goal of the bill was never to stop banks or corporations from making political donations and that the disputed language should be fairly easy to fix.
Photo of the Missouri Capitol by RebelAt of English Wikipedia.
November 1, 2010 •
State and Federal’s President and CEO discusses Missouri campaign finance.
After retired St. Louis businessperson Rex Sinquefield gave $13.3 million to various Missouri campaigns, The Columbia Missourian wrote an article sorting out the issues of campaign finance and disclosure in the state. The newspaper turned to Elizabeth Bartz, with her 34 years of experience in campaign finance, to put the donations in perspective.
With no limit on campaign contributions from individuals in Missouri, the article offered the following comparison by Bartz:
One expert compared Missouri to a Caribbean territory notorious for money laundering and tax evasion: “It’s like the grand Cayman Islands,” said Elizabeth Bartz, the CEO and president of an organization that provides consulting services to organizations interested in making contributions on a state level.
But Bartz also noted that the disclosure requirements in Missouri are strong:
“It’s not like they can just give and give and give and nobody can find out,” Bartz said. “It is public information, and it is information you can find out.”
You can find the text of the full story in The Columbia Missourian here.
July 15, 2010 •
Missouri Governor Jay Nixon signed ethics legislation designed to help clean up Missouri’s political culture.
This ethics overhaul was a top priority for Nixon and legislative leaders this year. Among the major changes, the new law requires elected officials and candidates to report larger campaign donations within 48 hours. It also gives the bipartisan Missouri Ethics Commission the power to begin investigations on its own, without waiting for a complaint. The law also expands reporting requirements for lobbyists who invite groups of state officials to events. Under this new law, campaign disclosure reports must be filed electronically beginning in January, 2011 and the fines for late reports are increased significantly.
State and Federal Communications, Inc. provides research and consulting services for government relations professionals on lobbying laws, procurement lobbying laws, political contribution laws in the United States and Canada. Learn more by visiting stateandfed.com.