Amendment 2 could halt campaign mega spending in Missouri

7 months 2 weeks 6 days ago November 03, 2016 Nov 3, 2016 Thursday, November 03 2016 Thursday, November 03, 2016 2:15:00 PM CDT in News
By: Lauren Barnas, KOMU 8 Reporter
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COLUMBIA – Missouri candidates are taking advantage of unlimited campaign contributions as voters have days to decide whether to bring back donation limits.

Candidates for state office accepted millions of dollars from single donors in this election. Amendment 2 would limit donations to $2,600.

“If you’re running for federal office, like for member of the House of Representatives or U.S. Senate, there are national campaign laws in place,” American Politics Professor Marvin Overby said. “We don’t have any of those at the state level in Missouri." 

Voters will have the chance to bring back contribution limits by voting yes to Amendment 2 on the Nov. 8 ballot. Missouri has not had donor limits since 2008, leading to millions in spending on many state races this election. 

“We’re the only state in the nation that is that open about campaign spending,” Overby said.

Some proponents of the measure say limits are necessary to conduct a fair election. Opponents say, although the amendment reforms state campaigns, it does not address campaign contributions at the local level.

Many Democrats are in favor of ending unlimited campaign contributions. KOMU 8 looked into Republican and Democratic candidates in all state races to find out their stance on campaign finance reform.

 GOVERNOR

 KOSTER (D) – SUPPORTS AMENDMENT 2

 Although Koster voted against contribution limits in the past, his campaign now supports the initiative:

“Missouri is one of only three states without contribution limits for in-state elections,” Koster’s campaign website said. “Chris knows this trend is unsustainable in a functioning democracy. That’s why he wants to finally put a limit on campaign contributions.”

GREITENS (R) – OPPOSES AMENDMENT 2

Greitens’ Communications Director Parker Briden said Greitens is interested in stopping political corruption and banning gifts from lobbyists before looking at campaign finance reform. 

He doesn't support this amendment because it would entrench longtime politicians and hurt outsiders,” Briden said.

ATTORNEY GENERAL

HENSLEY (D)– SUPPORTS AMENDMENT 2

"I clearly think that we need to do that," Hensley said about Amendment 2. "My opponent has taken over $3.5 million from one man out of Joplin."

HAWLEY (R) – Hawley has not gotten back to KOMU 8 on the issue.

STATE SENATE

WEBBER (D) – SUPPORTS AMENDMENT 2

Representative Webber co-sponsored House Bill 2240 in the most recent legislative session, which was the most comprehensive campaign finance reform proposal of the session,” Campaign Manager Emily Waggoner said.

ROWDEN (R) – Rowden has not gotten back to KOMU 8 on the issue.

LT. GOVERNOR

CARNAHAN (D) – SUPPORTS AMENDMENT 2

“Russ will support the current ballot measure (Amendment 2) to limit campaign contributions and encourages voters to support this long overdue reform,” Carnahan’s website said.   

PARSON (R) – SUPPORTS AMENDMENT 2

A representative with the Parson campaign told KOMU 8 Parson supports campaign contribution limits.

SECRETARY OF STATE

SMITH (D) - NO STANCE

"I will not express or act on any of my opinions on any amendments or proposed ballot initiatives nor proposed legislation," Smith said. "The Secretary of State should not express their personal opinions."

ASHCROFT (R) - Ashcroft has not gotten back to KOMU 8 on the issue. 

STATE TREASURER

BAKER (D) – SUPPORTS AMENDMENT 2

"I wholeheartedly support contribution limits," Baker said. The repeal of campaign finance was against the will of the people of Missouri. The people of the state of Missouri had established campaign finance limits on a ballot initiative and the Republican legislature overturned that and we are now, as Missourians, literally paying the price."

SCHMITT (R) - Schmitt has not gotten back to KOMU 8 on the issue. 

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