Missouri voters asked to consider restoring campaign contribution limits

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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. Missouri voters will vote Tuesday on a constitutional amendment that aims to take some of the money out of state elections.

Proposed Amendment 2 would place firm limits on the amount of money individuals and corporations could donate to political campaigns and political parties. It proposes that the state’s constitution be amended to:
• establish limits on campaign contributions by individuals or entities to political parties, political committees, or committees to elect candidates for state or judicial office;
• prohibit individuals and entities from intentionally hiding the source of such contributions;
• require corporations or labor organizations to meet certain requirements in order to make such contributions; and
• provide a complaint process and penalties for any violations of this amendment.

Amendment 2 would limit individuals to donations of $2,600 to campaigns for any state office. It would also limit contributions by individuals or committees to political parties at $25,000.

It also prohibits political contributions from corporations or labor unions to political campaigns, committees or parties. It would also forbid political campaigns from making donations to other political campaigns.

It limits cash donations to political candidates, committees and parties to $100, and forbids anonymous donations of more than $25.

The proposed amendment comes amid some big donations made to candidates for election in Missouri this year. Failed Republican gubernatorial candidate Catherine Hannaway received almost a million dollars from conservative activist Rex Sinquefield. Votesmart.org reports Democratic candidate for governor Chris Koster has received more than $5 million from labor unions, while Republican Eric Greiten’s top donor is the Republican Governor’s Association, which has donated $5 million to his campaign. He has also received a $500,000 contribution from Joplin businessman David Humphries.

Greitens opposes the amendment. A spokesman for Greitens’ campaign told St. Louis Public Radio that the candidate opposes “campaign finance laws that favor entrenched career politicians and wealthy self-funding candidates over political outsiders and those who challenge the political status quo.”

The measure has support of many top Democrats, including Koster, U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, and Gov. Jay Nixon.

The measure aims to restore campaign contribution limits to Missouri law. Voters approved limits in 1994, but the General Assembly repealed those limits in 2008.