|NEWS||From the Office of
Senator-elect Jill Schupp
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Dec. 4, 2014
CONTACT: Senator-elect Jill Schupp
Senator-elect Jill Schupp Pre-Files Legislation to Restore Reasonable
Campaign Contribution Limits and Close the Legislator-to-Lobbyist Revolving Door
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Senator-elect Jill Schupp filed two pieces of legislation aimed at implementing much-needed ethics and campaign finance reform in the Missouri political system. Schupp said her goals with both pieces of legislation are to limit the currently unfettered influence of big donors; create a “cooling off” period that prevents legislators from immediately lobbying after leaving office; and institute additional layers of transparency so that voters know the source of political contributions.
The first piece of legislation filed by Schupp, SB 123, would reinstate campaign contribution limits similar to those that existed in Missouri until August of 2008 when legislation went into effect that made Missouri one of only a handful of states with no contribution limits. Schupp’s bill would limit contributions to statewide officials to $5,000 per election per individual. The bill would cap contributions to state senators at $1,500 and to state representatives at $750 per election.
“As we have seen in these last few years without limits, the enormous contributions from a handful of influential people can greatly outweigh the reasonable contributions made by thousands of concerned, engaged citizens,” said Schupp, D-Creve Coeur, who noted that 74 percent of Missourians supported strict campaign finance limits the last time the issue was brought to a statewide vote. “By putting reasonable limits in place we can limit the influence of big donors on our political system and tip the balance back in favor of Missouri families who deserve elected officials who have their best interests at heart.”
Another provision in SB 123 would effectively close the revolving door that allows legislators to immediately become lobbyists after leaving office. Schupp’s legislation would implement a “cooling off” period of one full legislative session after an elected official leaves office until he or she could register and work as a lobbyist.
“Missouri is one of just a few states that allow legislators to immediately transition into the lobbying profession, which is something we need to change if we want the people of our state to have trust in our system of government. We want our elected officials to operate in a way that is beneficial to their constituents rather than using the power of their office to help a specific business or industry that will then repay the favor when they leave office,” said Schupp.
In addition to SB 123, Schupp also filed SB 124 to put in place a greater level of transparency with donations to certain non-profit groups. Specifically, SB 124 would require all exempt organizations under Section 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code to disclose their donors and donation amounts. Schupp said these organizations, which are allowed to participate in politics so long as politics does not become their primary focus, have continued to pump more and more money into political campaigns. She said her legislation simply allows voters to know who is providing these dollars that ultimately end up in campaign coffers.