Schaaf argues his resolution will preserve amendment

ST. LOUIS – A federal lawsuit filed early Wednesday will seek to stop the limits placed on campaign contributions caused by the approval of Amendment 2 by Missouri voters. Missouri Electric Cooperatives and Legends Bank, represented by attorney Chuck Hatfield, will also ask that the amendment be blocked while the lawsuit is pending.

The lawsuit was filed in St. Louis.

Those entities fear that they could be shut out of elections while other businesses, groups, and individuals can still continue to donate as they please.

The amendment, sponsored by St. Louis businessman Fred Sauer and the Returning Government to the People PAC, will limit contributions to individual candidates at $2,600 and to political parties at $25,000. It also aims to make those donations more transparent by restricting donations between committees to stop what some critics of the old system called a “shell game” of shuffling money through various committees to bypass limits.

Some provisions in the amendment establish firm prerequisites for corporations and labor organizations to donate to political campaigns.

Sen. Rob Schaaf, who was one of a handful of Republican senators last cycle to publicly endorse limits on campaign contributions, has already filed a resolution (SJR 1) that would rectify some of the perceived weaknesses of the approved language. He believes that this lawsuit makes passing his resolution all the more important.

“Missourians approved the new contribution limits on Nov. 8 by a 40-point margin,” he said in a statement. “We in the Legislature now have a duty to make sure that these limits are neither circumvented nor struck down. Senate Joint Resolution 1 would give voters an opportunity to make the necessary changes, holding to the intent of the approved limits as closely as possible without running afoul of established jurisprudence.”

Just under 70 percent of voters approved Amendment 2 in the Nov. 8 elections. Of the other statewide issues or candidate, only Amendment 1, the re-approval of the soil and water tax, performed better than Amendment 2.