More details about the gifts provided by lobbyists to Missouri officials will be available beginning in May, thanks to action taken last week by the Missouri Ethics Commission.
Rep. Sara Lampe, D-Springfield, speaks about the changes in a section of her latest capital report. She writes:
"Starting in May, lobbyists will have to provide more details about the gifts they provide to Missouri's elected officials, their employees and families.
"The state Ethics Commission voted Tuesday to try to close loopholes in lobbyist expenditure reports that have allowed some public officials to attend ball games and other events without their names ever appearing on lobbyist disclosure reports. Commissioners unanimously passed a resolution requiring lobbyist reports after May 1 to specifically identify the person receiving their gifts and that person's relationship to an elected official.
"The new reporting forms also will require disclosure of loaned items and entrance fees to sporting events, museums and other venues, regardless of whether the public official or staff member is going strictly for recreation or also to participate in a ceremony or meeting."
I would still recommend a simple elimination of gifts from lobbyists. They already hold an advantage over everyday taxpayers, simply by their proximity to elected officials. Letting them add to it with any kind of gift is unreasonable, especially when we are already paying them salaries which are far above what most of their constituents make.