Following Bipartisn Scandals, MO May Consider Ethics Reforms

Columbia Tribune: “In October, the Kansas City Star reported House Speaker Tim Jones, House Majority Leader John Diehl and three other lawmakers were treated to a $3,000 meal Aug. 1 while attending an American Legislative Exchange Council meeting in Dallas. Seven lobbyists who split the bill reported the meal as being provided to the ‘entire General Assembly’ while five others reported it was provided to the lawmakers who actually attended.”

“Later that month, the New York Times, in an investigation of lobbying influence on state attorneys general, reported Koster dropped an investigation of deceptive advertising practices by the makers of 5-Hour Energy drink after being lobbied at a meeting of the Democratic Attorneys General Association in Santa Monica, Calif.

“Senate Majority Leader Ron Richard of Joplin, in the only bill he has filed for the upcoming session, addresses issues raised in those reports. His bill would bar out-of-state travel and entertainment paid for by lobbyists and would require invitations 48 hours in advance for any meal or entertainment reported as being provided to the full House, Senate or both.

“Other provisions in Richard’s bill would bar lawmakers from hiring colleagues as political consultants and make retiring lawmakers wait two years before taking a job as a lobbyist.”

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