Missouri Voters To Decide On Whether To Reinstate Campaign Contribution Limits

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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Missouri voters will now have the opportunity to decide if there should be limits on what people can donate to political campaigns.

Since 2008, Missouri has had no limits whatsoever on campaign contributions.

It is not uncommon to see six-figure, even seven figure checks made out to candidates running for office here in the state.

One donor, in particular, retired St. Louis investor Rex Sinquefield, has donated more than $40-million to candidates and causes since 2008.

Ahead of the August primaries, he gave $1-million to Lieutenant Gov. Candidate Bev Randles and also wrote seven-figure checks to Former House Speaker Catherine Hanaway.

The drafters of this proposed constitutional amendment wrote in its text that large campaign checks create the potential for corruption and the appearance of corruption and allow wealthy interests to exert a disproportionate amount of influence over the political process.

However, if voters pass this amendment, Rep. Eric Burlison, R-Springfield, said it will not curtail large donations.

“Today, a candidate can get a donation directly, and at least most of the time the public knows who is donating to a candidate,” Burlison said. “But as soon as this passes you’re going to take even the honest campaigns and send all of that money underground. Then, the voters will have no idea who is supporting candidates.”

Burlison pointed out that a federal political action committee known as “Seals for Truth” pumped $1.9 million into Eric Greitens gubernatorial campaign ahead of the August primary. It was the largest donation in the history of a Missouri campaign and the group did not have to disclose its donors.

Burlison said he worries Missourians would no longer be able to see large contributions in Missouri Ethics Commission records, and so-called “dark money” would finance ads supporting and attacking candidates without the public being able to see who is financing those efforts.

This proposed constitutional amendment must survive a legal challenge, but if it does, it will appear on your November election ballot.

Individual contributions would be limited to $2,600 for a candidate, $25,000 for a political party.

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