JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – State Rep. Gina Mitten, D-St. Louis, today filed legislation that would prohibit lawmakers from chairing House or Senate committees while running for statewide office.
Mitten believes the combination of the committee chairman influence over legislation combined with the fundraising needed to run for statewide office creates a situation that is ripe for abuse, especially with unlimited campaign contributions.
“It just doesn’t pass the smell test when a committee chairman who holds life-or-death control over legislation is raking in huge donations from those who have a stake in a bill passing or not passing,” Mitten said. “To avoid the appearance of corruption, if a lawmaker wants to pursue statewide office, they should have to relinquish their chairmanship.”
HB 2398 would require lawmakers to resign his or her committee chairmanship within two weeks of creating a statewide candidate committee. Anyone who refused to do so would be statutorily barred from running for statewide office during the two subsequent election cycles.
Rachael Herndon is the editor at The Missouri Times, and also produces This Week in Missouri Politics, publishes Missouri Times Magazine, and co-hosts the #moleg podcast. She joined the Missouri Times in 2014, returning to political reporting after working as a campaign and legislative staffer.
Rachael studied at the University of Missouri – Columbia. She lives in Jefferson City with her husband, Brandon, and their two children.
To contact Rachael, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or via Twitter @TheRachDunn.