Organization skeptical after Missouri lobbyist gift numbers released

2 years 8 months 1 week ago Tuesday, February 09 2016 Feb 9, 2016 Tuesday, February 09, 2016 7:11:00 PM CST February 09, 2016 in News
By: Amber Smith, KOMU 8 News

JEFFERSON CITY - Data from the Missouri Ethics Commission revealed Missouri lawmakers as a whole received fewer gifts from lobbyists in 2014 than in 2015. However, the executive director of the commission said it may not be that lawmakers are actually receiving fewer gifts, but receiving gifts in ways that go unreported under current Missouri law.

Progress Missouri is a progressive advocacy organization. The group organized the data from the Missouri Ethics Commission to chart which lawmakers received the most. Progress Missouri Communications Director Kevin Garner said Missouri's ethics laws need improvement.

"Unfortunately, Missouri has probably the worst ethic laws in the country right now," Garner said.

Currently in Missouri there is no cap on how much money lobbyists can spend on lawmakers. Garner said the data doesn't necessarily reveal that lawmakers are receiving fewer gifts, but that there is fewer reports of gifts.

"While we would wish it's because there is a decision to have and receive less lobbyists gifts, which possibly could be true, unfortunately that's also part of the problem with Missouri's lobbyists laws and the lack of transparency. There is a variety of ways to get around reporting gifts or kind of covering up receiving gifts," Garner said. 

Currently if a lawmaker pays back a lobbyist from either his or her personal account of his or her campaign account, it will still show up as receiving zero dollars. Also, if a lobbyist gives the gift to a whole committee or the entire legislature, the individual doesn't have to report it.

KOMU 8 News investigated lobbyist gifts and reporting in a Target 8 report prior to the 2015 session. 

There are many ethics reform bills on the 2016 legislative agenda in Missouri. 

"Some of the items being discussed right now in Missouri are putting for example either a cap on lobbyist gifts to individual members of the General Assembly and other public officials or perhaps even outright banning gifts. That would be a pretty significant step for Missouri because right now our laws do not cap how much a lobbyist can expend upon a legislator," said the Missouri Ethics Commission Executive Director James Klahr.

The Missouri House heard two ethics bills Tuesday. One would prohibit elected officials from investing campaign funds in anything except short-term treasury instruments or short-term bank certificates, and the other would impose requirements for personal financial disclosure and restrictions on conflicts of interest to private advisers of executive branch appointed by the governor.

KOMU 8 News reached out to several lawmakers about the issue Tuesday afternoon, but none responded to requests for comment.  

KOMU 8 News is working to independently analyze the numbers from the state and will update this story with findings.  

 

More News

Grid
List
COLUMBIA - Three air conditioning units were stolen from Discovery Church in Northeast Columbia Tuesday night. The pastor of the... More >>
3 hours ago Monday, October 22 2018 Oct 22, 2018 Monday, October 22, 2018 6:01:00 PM CDT October 22, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Governor Parson appointed the new director of the Missouri Medicaid program, filling a permanent position after 22... More >>
4 hours ago Monday, October 22 2018 Oct 22, 2018 Monday, October 22, 2018 5:40:00 PM CDT October 22, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Renee Hoagenson and Vicky Hartzler are running against each other for a seat in the House of Representatives.... More >>
4 hours ago Monday, October 22 2018 Oct 22, 2018 Monday, October 22, 2018 5:28:00 PM CDT October 22, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - A poster display regarding sexual orientation and gender identity at Gentry Middle School received mixed reviews from parents... More >>
5 hours ago Monday, October 22 2018 Oct 22, 2018 Monday, October 22, 2018 4:06:00 PM CDT October 22, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Mizzou forward Jontay Porter will miss the entire 2018-19 basketball season after tearing both the ACL and MCL... More >>
6 hours ago Monday, October 22 2018 Oct 22, 2018 Monday, October 22, 2018 3:40:00 PM CDT October 22, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - A downtown Columbia restaurant discontinued an Election Day incentive after realizing it could be violating voter laws. ... More >>
7 hours ago Monday, October 22 2018 Oct 22, 2018 Monday, October 22, 2018 2:39:00 PM CDT October 22, 2018 in News
O'FALLON (AP) — A suburban St. Louis man who has served as a Cub Scout den leader has been charged... More >>
7 hours ago Monday, October 22 2018 Oct 22, 2018 Monday, October 22, 2018 2:32:00 PM CDT October 22, 2018 in News
(CNN) - The United Nations' drug strategy of the past 10 years has been a failure, according to a major... More >>
7 hours ago Monday, October 22 2018 Oct 22, 2018 Monday, October 22, 2018 2:17:00 PM CDT October 22, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Prosecutors filed charges Monday against the driver of a car which crashed late Saturday, killing one person. ... More >>
8 hours ago Monday, October 22 2018 Oct 22, 2018 Monday, October 22, 2018 12:49:00 PM CDT October 22, 2018 in News
KANSAS CITY (AP) — The Missouri Republican Party says a miscommunication caused 10,000 voters in the state to receive mailers... More >>
11 hours ago Monday, October 22 2018 Oct 22, 2018 Monday, October 22, 2018 10:31:00 AM CDT October 22, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — The Missouri Supreme Court has allowed an injunction to remain in place against part of... More >>
11 hours ago Monday, October 22 2018 Oct 22, 2018 Monday, October 22, 2018 9:44:00 AM CDT October 22, 2018 in News
KANSAS CITY (AP) — Police say one person died and three people were injured when an off-duty Kansas City police... More >>
13 hours ago Monday, October 22 2018 Oct 22, 2018 Monday, October 22, 2018 7:48:00 AM CDT October 22, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA (AP) — Three black trailblazers at the University of Missouri have been honored on the Columbia campus. The... More >>
14 hours ago Monday, October 22 2018 Oct 22, 2018 Monday, October 22, 2018 7:36:12 AM CDT October 22, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA -The next Mega Millions drawing will take place the night of Oct. 23 at 10 p.m. central time. ... More >>
17 hours ago Monday, October 22 2018 Oct 22, 2018 Monday, October 22, 2018 3:57:00 AM CDT October 22, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - The University of Missouri's 107th Homecoming has come and gone, but left behind a lot of clean up.... More >>
23 hours ago Sunday, October 21 2018 Oct 21, 2018 Sunday, October 21, 2018 10:34:00 PM CDT October 21, 2018 in News
HERMANN - Neighbors in the town of Hermann, Missouri are still grieving after a fatal accident involving a trolley killed... More >>
23 hours ago Sunday, October 21 2018 Oct 21, 2018 Sunday, October 21, 2018 10:01:00 PM CDT October 21, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - The Missouri men’s basketball program suffered a crushing blow Sunday night when it was announced that sophomore power... More >>
1 day ago Sunday, October 21 2018 Oct 21, 2018 Sunday, October 21, 2018 7:34:00 PM CDT October 21, 2018 in Sports
(CNN) - President Donald Trump announced Saturday that the US is pulling out of the landmark Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty... More >>
1 day ago Sunday, October 21 2018 Oct 21, 2018 Sunday, October 21, 2018 4:20:00 PM CDT October 21, 2018 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 56°
10pm 54°
11pm 53°
12am 51°
1am 49°