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Gov. Nixon signs ethics bill, calls for further action by General Assembly to restore the public’s trust

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JEFFERSON CITY, MO -

Gov. Jay Nixon today signed House Bill 1983 to prohibit statewide elected officials and members of the General Assembly from receiving compensation as paid political consultants for other state elected officials or candidates for those offices, as well as committees that support a candidate, issue or ballot measure.  The measure is one of the ethics reforms that the Governor has called for each year he has been in office, including in the comprehensive plan he put forward in October.

The purpose of the bill is to address the inherent conflict of interest that occurs when legislators are paid to represent the interest of other state elected officials and candidates rather than the interest of their constituents.  House Bill 1983 will prevent elected officials from inappropriately profiting from their positions by getting paid by other members for political advice. 

“Members of the General Assembly are here to represent their taxpaying constituents, not cash in on their political connections,” said Gov. Nixon. “Banning officeholders from paying each other for political advice is an important step in the right direction, and I thank Representative Dogan and Senator Munzlinger for their work to get this legislation to my desk. It’s important to note that the bill I signed today is just a first step. There is more work to do, and I have been very clear about the measures that are necessary to restore the public’s trust.”

Currently, Missouri’s ethics laws are the weakest in the nation, and include no limits on campaign contributions, no limits on gifts from lobbyists, and no cooling off period before elected officials can become lobbyists.  To bring greater honesty, integrity and accountability to Missouri’s political system, Gov. Nixon has called for a series of specific reforms including restoring limits on campaign contributions, banning gifts from lobbyists, shortening the legislative session, closing the revolving door and banning officeholders from hiring their fellow legislators as political consultants.

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