Republican State Senator Introduces Sweeping Campaign Finance Reform Proposal in Missouri

February 3, 2015

This morning, Missouri State Sen. Rob Schaaf (R-St. Joseph) introduced major campaign finance reform legislation, the Missouri Anti-Corruption Act, which would overhaul the state’s campaign finance laws to empower average Missouri voters and reduce the influence of special interests. The bill would implement a small donor-based public financing system and measures to increase transparency and enforcement. The Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law has long supported state-level reforms along these lines, and applauds Sen. Schaaf’s introduction of the bill. It includes:

  • A rebate system to encourage small donations of $100 or below, which will increase the voice of everyday citizens.
  • Limits on the size of contributions to candidates for office. Missouri is currently one of only twelve states with no such limits, and is the only state with no limits on either contributions or gifts from lobbyists to legislators.
  • Stronger rules for disclosure of outside spending on elections, so voters know which interests are backing which candidates.
  • Enhanced capacity for the state’s Ethics Commission to enforce new and existing campaign finance and ethics laws.

If passed by Missouri’s legislature, the legislation will be referred to the 2016 ballot for a public vote. If approved, it will be adopted as an amendment to the Missouri Constitution.

“Sen. Schaaf’s Anti-Corruption Act represents the growing grassroots movement on both left and right to push back against special interests that have come to dominate federal, state, and local elections since Citizens United,” said Lawrence Norden, deputy director of the Brennan Center’s Democracy Program. “If enacted, it would go a long way toward restoring power over public policy to Missouri’s citizens.”

For more information or to schedule an interview, contact Naren Daniel at (646) 292-8381 or naren.daniel@nyu.edu