Typically I am fundamentally opposed to anything that limits a citizen’s constitutional right. Who I vote for, how they present their ideas, and how I study their candidacy should be left up to me. Upon reading this legislation as proposed by State Representative Will Kraus from District 48, I have to take a second look.
What is he talking about specifically? Well, as I read it [I’m posting his e-mail comments to his constituents and the link to the bill itself for you to judge for yourself] he’s bring up a practice that just does not make sense to me: A sitting government official, receiving support and funds from another sitting government official in the form of Political Consulting fees. Wow. If what I read is right this does in fact create the possibility of a quid pro quo with legislation on the balance.
Read this, study it, make up your own mind, and let Representative Krause know whether you support his bill or not. At this point, I’m in support of it.
The Lee’s Summit Conservative
e-mail from Representative Will Kraus follows
Ethics at the Capitol
From State Representative: Will Kraus – District 48
Ethical standards of conduct are one of the most important underpinnings of a representative government. They are essential in conducting the people’s business and ensuring that it is the people who benefit from our decisions in the Capitol – and not entrenched interests with lots of money to spend. I have filed legislation, HB 2039, that thoroughly addresses the much-publicized ethical issues that have tarnished the integrity of the legislative process at the state Capitol. This problem must be fixed.
The ethics of a legislator acting as a paid political consultant for another legislator or a statewide elected official has sparked conversation both in the Capitol and in the media. It is particularly dicey when the consultant is also a legislator who holds a position in the House, such as Speaker, who has a great deal of power over how bills are handled. It creates the appearance, if not the fact, of a legislator feeling forced to use another legislator’s consulting firm in order for bills to be moved successfully through the legislative process. Therefore, HB2039 prohibits a legislator and other family members from receiving compensation during the legislator’s term of office for acting as a paid political consultant.
In the past, campaign contribution limits have been removed by the legislature. The thinking at the time was that these limits actually created a shell game of laundering large contributions through various committees. Transfers kept the public from following the activity and who paid for whom. I believe that this problem also must be addressed to maintain above-board politics in the State Capitol. Therefore, my legislation prohibits a Continuing Committee from donating to another Continuing Committee or a Continuing Committee from donating to a Candidate Committee.
For those not familiar with the terminology, a Candidate Committee is formed by a candidate to receive contributions or make expenditures in behalf of the individual’s candidacy. A Continuing Committee, as its name implies, continues to exist independent of a particular election and is not formed, controlled or directed by a candidate. Its purpose is to receive contributions or make expenditures to influence the action of voters. For example, both businesses and unions form continuing committees that accept contributions that can be used to promote a particular point of view.
My bill [State Rep Will Kraus MO District 48] creates a Class D felony offense for those who transfer funds through political committees with the intent to mask the original source of money. I am also calling for more transparency in government by seeking to require all committees to file electronically and be subject to online searching.
However, in order to control even the appearance of “money talks” in running campaigns and being beholden to donors who made large contributions to a campaign (and not as much to those who voted one vote at a time like you) my bill reinstates upper limits for campaign contributions.
Other provisions of my bill:
Prohibit members of the General Assembly from acting, serving, or registering as a legislative lobbyist during their terms as well as for two years following their service,
Prohibit legislators from accepting an offer or promise of a favorfrom the governor in exchange for a vote, and
Clarify existing law so that “pay for play” prohibitions include the exchange of campaign contributions for legislative actions.
I remain hopeful that these ethics problems can be fixed in this session. I intend to work hard to ensure that significant legislation gets passed. It’s the ethical thing to do.