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Clean Missouri launches ‘What a Democrat and a Republican can agree on’


JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — A ballot initiative advocating for a major overhaul of campaign finance and ethics laws in the Show-Me State has some well-known elected officials backing their cause.

St. Louis Treasurer Tishaura Jones, a Democrat, and State Senator Rob Schaaf, a Republican, join forces to advocate for the passage of Clean Missouri in a digital advertisement titled “What a Democrat and a Republican can agree on.”

The measure is a proposed constitutional amendment that would impose gift limits for legislators, lower campaign contribution limits, change the length of time required before becoming lobbyists, and change the model for drawing districts.

“We may vote differently but we can agree on one thing: It’s time to clean up our government in Jefferson City,” Jones said in the ad.

“That is why we will both be voting yes on the Clean Missouri Initiative,” Schaaf adds. The term-limited Republican has been a strong advocate of the measure for since 2017. 

Clean Missouri, the coalition advocating for voter-approved ethics reform, submitted 346,956 signatures to Missouri’s Secretary of State’s office on May 3, 2018. The initiative petition has yet to be certified for the November ballot. The committee has $183,394.57 cash on hand as of July Missouri Ethics Commission Filings.

The proposed measure has gotten pushback from some members of the General Assembly including House Floor Majority Leader Rob Vescovo over the way the districts would be drawn.

In an opinion-editorial several months ago, Rep. Hannah Kelly wrote, “Clean Missouri would give the state auditor, the only statewide Democratic officeholder in Jefferson City, the power to appoint an unelected demographer to redraw Missouri’s Legislative Districts in the name of bipartisanship.”

According to the text of Clean Missouri, it’s a multi-step process in selecting the state demographer. Folks would apply to the state auditor to be the demographer and then auditor would submit a list of at least three names to the Senate. If the Senate majority and minority leaders agreed on a person, the process would end there. If they disagreed, they would each be able to take names off the list before the demographer would be picked in a lottery system.

“Clean Missouri creates an independent process with clear, transparent criteria to ensure no party is given an unfair advantage when new maps are drawn after the next census. Clean Missouri will ensure fair and competitive elections so elected officials cannot take their voters for granted and must earn their support,” said Former Attorney General of Missouri and former U.S. Senator John Danforth, a Republican. “I’m proud to be part of a bipartisan group of reformers to ensure voters come first — and that Missourians’ voices will always be heard in our democracy. Clean Missouri will increase integrity, transparency, and accountability in state government.”