For Immediate Release:
December 31, 2015

Contact: Matt Michelson
(573) 751-2272
Senator David Pearce - Restoring Trust In Missouri Politics

JEFFERSON CITY — With the 2016 legislative session right around the corner, several legislative ideas have been jockeying for the spotlight heading into the upcoming legislative session. While several of those pieces of legislation are important and vital to moving our state forward, I believe one of the most important actions we can take this year is to pass comprehensive ethics reform. Politics and government should be about serving each other, not raising money from special interest groups for our next campaign.

Currently, Missouri is one of six states where there is no limit to the amount of money someone can donate to a political campaign. Missouri hasn’t always been without campaign contribution limits. In 1974, voters approved campaign contribution limits with more than 75% of the vote. However the passage of Proposition One in 1974 started several legislative and legal battles regarding campaign contribution limits.

During my time in the Missouri House of Representatives, we debated the idea of repealing the limits. In 2008, after hours of contentious, passionate debate, we repealed the limits on campaign contributions. I have cast thousands of votes as a member of the Missouri General Assembly and this was a vote I regret, it wasn’t the right thing to do. The money involved in politics has gotten out of hand, this grand experiment isn’t working and people have lost faith in their government by not having these limits.

As a result, I have pre-filed Senate Bill 570. The aim of the legislation is simple, reinstate reasonable limits on the amount of money one can donate to a political candidate. I do not want to stop someone from getting involved in the political process but too much money can present a complicated picture to our constituents. I am proposing a $5,000 limit for individuals and political parties who donate to a candidate running for statewide office, a $2,500 limit for individuals running for the Missouri Senate and a $1,250 donation cap for those running for the Missouri House of Representatives. I feel these caps are fair and reasonable. The caps allow individuals to voice their support for a candidate through their financial support while placing a reasonable limit on the amount of money involved in the political process.

The goal of ethics reform is to clean up the business of politics. While we are all here to serve, sometimes it is necessary to take steps to restore the public’s trust in its elected government. I believe reinstating campaign contribution limits is an important step to restoring that trust.

As always, please feel free to contact me or my staff with any questions or concerns at any time. We look forward to hearing your comments and suggestions and trying to answer any questions you may have. You can reach us by phone at 866-277-0882 (toll-free) or (573) 751-2272, or by fax at (573) 526-7381.

Senator David Pearce serves Caldwell, Carroll, Howard, Johnson, Lafayette, Livingston, Ray and Saline counties in the 21st State Senatorial District.