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Sen. Schaaf Calls for Ban on Lobbyists Gifts

Yesterday, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch published an opinion piece by Sen. Rob Schaaf (R-St. Joseph), in which he calls for ethics reform in Missouri.

As a member of the Missouri Senate, I can legally accept gifts from lobbyists unlimited in number and in value: fine wine, expensive meals, tickets to the World Series — whatever is on offer. And if I were seeking re-election, I could also accept unlimited campaign contributions.

Missouri is the only state in the country with rules like these, and it shows. During the past two years, Missouri legislators have together accepted over $1.8 million in lobbying gifts, with some accepting over $15,000 in such gifts.

Schaaf has proposed an ethics reform bill in an attempt to resolve some of these problems. He writes,

This is why I’m introducing a new bill: the Missouri Anti-Corruption Act. If passed, it would put an end to the culture of lobbyist gift-giving in Jefferson City. It would close loopholes in our state’s ethics and disclosure rules. And it would rework campaign finance laws to expand the role of small donors, freeing politicians from the need to rely on deep-pocketed special interests.

Props to Sen. Schaaf for speaking out and working to move ethics reforms forward in Jefferson City.