By Mike Ferguson
(St. Charles, MO) – It’s the hot topic at the State Capitol right now: Ethics Reform.
However, what needs to be reformed? That depends on who you ask.
John Messmer, founder of Missourians for Government Reform wants to see a total ban on gifts from lobbyists to politicians. In fact, the State Legislature is considering that right now. The State House has approved such a ban and the State Senate will consider it next. Messmer also wants to see limits reinstated on campaign contributions to political campaigns.
Former Speaker of the House, Tim Jones, also thinks there is a need for some reforms but reminds us that it’s the public’s job to keep an eye on what those in office are doing. Jones is now the chairman of Missouri Club for Growth. He argues that Missouri has one of the most transparent reporting systems for gifts and campaign contributions in the nation. That requires most gifts and contributions to be disclosed right away and that information is made public through the Missouri Ethics Commission’s website.
Because of that, Jones is not in favor of campaign contribution limits, believing that restricts the freedom of people to support the candidates and causes they want.
Also, should there be a mandatory time lawmakers have to wait before becoming lobbyists once they leave office? Messmer and Jones offer two views on that as well.
On the web: