Wednesday, May 31, 2006
Harpool urges Blunt to veto campaign finance bill
The man who sponsored the bill that initially created the Missouri Ethics Commission is asking Governor Matt Blunt to veto the campaign finance reform bill. Harpool, D-Springfield, a five-term state representative, is running against incumbent Norma Champion for state senator.
The letter Harpool sent to the governor today reads as follows:
Dear Governor Blunt:
I write to urge you to veto legislation passed in the closing days of the recent session of the Missouri General Assembly which eliminates limits on campaign contributions in Missouri. This bill constitutes an unparalleled retreat in the battle for governmental integrity. The legislation will take the tainted ethical environment which already exists in Jefferson City and make it toxic. The stench of improper relationships between lobbyists, elected officials and campaign consultants will be made even more sickening if limits on campaign contributions are lifted.
The suggestion that the bill will result in better disclosure of the source of campaign funds is erroneous. The bill will result in no additional information or disclosure concerning campaign contributions due to the unlimited in-kind contributions the bill allows political party committees to make to candidates.
Even if better disclosure were to result from the bill, it would still be bad public policy. The disenfranchisement citizens will feel when they learn candidates are receiving contributions of unlimited amounts from big money interests makes the bill intolerable. Imagine for a moment the hopelessness a working family would feel after sacrificing to find $500 to contribute to a candidate of their choice only to learn that a multinational corporation has contributed $10,000 or $100,000 to the opposing candidate. Lifting the limits on campaign contributions will further alienate working families from the political process. When voters are alienated by the political process, they become alienated from their government.
If you veto this legislation, I personally commit to you that I will make myself available to draft a bill which, unlike the one passed in the recent legislative session, advances the cause of governmental ethics in Missouri. The bill will outlaw committee-to-committee money and maintain limits on campaign contributions. Advocates of integrity in public service need not choose between disclosure and campaign limits. Missouri voters deserve both contribution limits and full disclosure.
Please do not sound the trumpet of retreat in the battle for governmental integrity by signing legislation eliminating limits on campaign contributions.
Yours very truly,