•Limits on campaign contributions. Lawmakers lifted the cap in 2008, promising greater transparency as a tradeoff. But donors still funnel anonymous donations through political committees. Exorbitant payments give the appearance, deservedly or not, that politicians are being bought..
•A stronger definition of what constitutes a lobbyist. Jetton uses weak laws to avoid registering as a lobbyist and disclosing clients and income. Yet he’s clearly been involved in influencing legislation.
•A prohibition on lawmakers working for lobbyists or as paid campaign consultants while in office. Few states permit those activities, and Missouri should be ashamed that it does. Lawmakers should enact a waiting period before a former legislator can return to the Capitol as a lobbyist.
•A stronger watchdog. The Missouri Ethics Commission takes too long to investigate complaints, and it rarely issues meaningful sanctions against lawmakers who violate ethics provisions. The legislature needs to give the commission the resources and backing it needs to be effective.
Excessive campaign contributions and brazen political power plays are soiling Missouri’s Capitol. If lawmakers won’t voluntarily clean up their house, voters should replace them with legislators who will. Or perhaps the FBI will take the initiative
Monday, October 19, 2009
KC Star makes ethics recommendations
To go along with its hard-hitting articles on corruption in Missouri government, the Kansas City Star offered an editorial which suggested the following changes in the way the government operates: