Gov. Matt Blunt, who signed legislation that scrapped Missouri’s limits on campaign donations, has sworn off massive contributions – at least for the first 60 hours of next year.
Blunt’s campaign issued a statement this week pointing out a loophole in the bill that he signed into law last summer. The bill eliminated all limits on the contributions candidates can accept, but also prohibited lawmakers and statewide elected officials from accepting any contribution while the legislature is in session.
Blunt’s statement pointed out that the law takes effect Jan. 1 and the legislative session does not begin until noon on Jan. 3. That gives those elected officials 2½ days to snatch up every lobbyist contribution and special interest dollar in sight -- just before lawmakers begin deliberations on legislation that affects those same special interests.
But Blunt wants to take away the punch bowl.
"It is important to begin the legislative session focused on doing the people's business and making Missouri a better place rather than engaging in a fundraising frenzy," Blunt said.
Therefore, he is discouraging lawmakers and other elected officials from accepting contributions in excess of the current limits – $1,275 for statewide officials, $650 for senators and $325 for House members. Presumably, Blunt meant his suggestion to include Attorney General Jay Nixon, Blunt’s likely Democratic challenger in 2008.
Blunt said he would abide by his own advice. He pledged not to accept contributions beyond the current limits for those first 60 hours of the new year.
Once the legislature adjourns on May 17, however, unlimited contributions would be acceptable by all candidates. The new law will require stricter reporting of those contributions and prohibits funneling contributions to candidates through committees established by the Democratic and Republican parties.
Posted by Kit Wagar