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Mon Feb 25, 2013, 04:23 PM

Money in politics? The sky is the limit in MO

Associated Press

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- ... Candidates and political committees can take as much cash as they want from contributors. Lobbyists can spend endless amounts on gifts, meals and trips for public officials. And legislators leaving office can cash in immediately, converting from lawmaking to lobbying with no waiting period at all. The only requirement is to report it publicly ...

Yet Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has issued an ultimatum. He's vowing to push a ballot initiative to reinstate campaign contribution limits if lawmakers won't do it themselves this year. The governor asserts that Missouri's "weakest-in-the-nation" ethics laws are destroying the public's trust in elected officials.

Nixon's call for reform might seem likely to resonate, given that the 2012 presidential campaign, not to mention Missouri's past two governor's races, were the most expensive in history. But it may not, with the Legislature controlled by skeptical Republicans. And in some other states inundated with campaign spending, such as Florida, the response actually may be to move closer to Missouri's wild-West model rather than to crack down ...

Lawmakers in at least 20 states already have filed campaign finance bills this year ...


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