Monday, January 11, 2016
Greitens: My mission is to clean up Jefferson City
Without trust, nothing works. No community, no company, no church, no charity, no team, can long prosper without trust.
Today, people in Missouri do not trust our leaders. And for good reason. First, they are completely out of touch. They're focused on raising taxes, growing government, and caving to special interests.
Second, too many in Jeff City have forgotten that elected office is public service. You are supposed to be there as a servant of the people. Not yourself. Think about it:
Our Attorney General was highlighted as a poster child for corruption
Our legislators hold official hearings in country clubs while eating lobbyist-funded fancy food
The House Speaker had a relationship with an intern and was forced to resign
The crisis at the University of Missouri
The mismanagement of Ferguson
The tragic deaths of Tom Schweich and Spence Jackson
Candidates for the highest office in our state launching secret smear campaigns
Given all this, is it any surprise that people in Missouri don't trust our political leaders?
Today, Missouri's policies are shaped by corrupt insiders, well-paid lobbyists, and self-serving politicians who maximize their own personal profit, yet continue to fail to serve the people.
It's time for strong, robust, common sense ethics measures that will help to restore trust, and return government to "We the People."
Below are a few of the commonsense policies that I will seek to put in place as Governor.
#1: Term Limits for Every Statewide Office Holder
Every statewide office in Missouri should be subject to term limits. This includes the offices of Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State, Attorney General, and State Auditor. Missouri needs proven leaders, not career politicians.
#2: Ban all Gifts from Lobbyists
The culture of corruption in Jefferson City must end. Since 2004, politicians in Missouri have taken approximately $10.9 million in gifts from lobbyists. This game of trading lavish gifts and high-dollar steak dinners for special favors must end. Today in Missouri, legislators dine out, and when it comes time to pay the bill, they call in the credit card of a lobbyist. Public office is about service. Not free meals. Not free tickets. Not free trips. When I am governor we will ban all gifts from lobbyists.
#3: Close the Revolving Door Between Legislators and Special Interests
To end the culture of corruption, the revolving door between legislators and special interests needs to be nailed shut. Too many politicians try to "cash in" by becoming lobbyists as soon as they leave office. When I'm Governor, we'll end the culture of cashing in with a simple rule: for every year you serve in office, you have to wait a year before you can do paid lobbying in Missouri. If you serve one year, you have to wait one year before you can lobby. Serve two, then you wait two. And if you're a career politician who has been in office for twenty years, then you wait twenty years before you can engage in paid lobbying.
#4: End Campaign Contributions while the Legislature is in Session
Today, Missouri's elected officials accept campaign contributions while the legislature is in session. This means that dollars flow from special interests to politicians, at the very time that legislators are considering passing laws to benefit these contributors. When I'm Governor, we'll establish a level and clean playing field, so that no state elected official or candidate for elected office will be able to solicit or accept campaign contributions while the legislature is in session.
#5: Stop Politicians from Pocketing Campaign Money
Today in Missouri, a politician can raise money to run for office, drop out of the race, and keep the money. They can then turn around and use that money to fund a career as a lobbyist or a "consultant." When I'm Governor, we'll make it law that if a candidate for office decides not to run, they have to return all money to their donors within 30 days.
#6: Report All Government Handouts
When I'm Governor, all candidates and elected officials will report every penny of government tax credits, contracts, salaries, and special interest handouts that they, their companies, and their families have received from the Federal and State government. Missouri is the Show-Me state. It's time for politicians to be transparent with the people. If a candidate is in the business of taking special interest tax credits and contracts, then the people should know about it.
#7: End Donations from Companies Under Investigation
Our Attorney General takes money from the very companies that he is investigating. It's a sad game. The companies contribute and the Attorney General does them favors. The companies and the politicians win; the people lose. When I'm Governor, no company that is subject to a state lawsuit or investigation will be able to make campaign contributions to any officeholder or candidate for office.
#8: Stronger Ethics Enforcement
The Missouri Ethics Commission should have more robust power to conduct independent investigations. There will be a prosecutor in the Ethics Commission with the authority to impose stiff penalties for knowing, willing ethics violations, and harsher consequences when public trust is breached.
Doing what's right means doing more than just following the law. Missouri desperately needs to pass ethics legislation - but even more than that, we need leaders who will set the example. I have pledged that, as Governor, I will never-for the rest of my life-engage in paid lobbying. And when I'm Governor, every member of my staff and every member of my Cabinet will sign a pledge that they will never engage in lobbying while I am in office. From day one, I, my staff, and every member of my team will sign a pledge that we will never accept gifts from lobbyists.
Missouri deserves leaders who aren't in office for self-enrichment, and who aren't engaged in sleazy political games. We deserve leaders who are serious about service.
Trust is established through character and competence. When I'm Governor, we're going to clean up the mess in Jefferson City, restore trust in government, and get real results for people.
This is going to be a very big fight. Both parties-Democrats and Republicans-are at fault, and they are NOT going to like these reforms, because the games in Jefferson City work just fine for the sleazy insiders who've gotten rich. They see us coming, and they know that we're coming after them.
It's a fight I'm happy to take on, because the people deserve a leader who is serious about doing what's right.
The first step to a more vibrant and hopeful Missouri, full of great jobs, and providing every child with a world-class education is creating an open, honest, and ethical environment in Jeff City. Career politicians have taken us in the opposite direction. When I'm governor, with this ethics package, we'll change the course!