The Commons is a weblog for concerned citizens of southeast Iowa and their friends around the world. It was created to encourage grassroots networking and to share information and ideas which have either been suppressed or drowned out in the mainstream media.

"But if the cause be not good, the king himself hath a heavy reckoning to make, when all those legs and arms and heads, chopped off in battle, shall join together at the latter day and cry all 'We died at such a place;' some swearing, some crying for a surgeon, some upon their wives left poor behind them, some upon the debts they owe, some upon their children rawly left. I am afeard there are few die well that die in a battle; for how can they charitably dispose of any thing, when blood is their argument? Now, if these men do not die well, it will be a black matter for the king that led them to it; whom to disobey were against all proportion of subjection." (Henry V, Act V, Scene 4)

Friday, June 22, 2007

Missouri: Gateway to the Wallet

Missouri: Gateway to the Wallet
by Devilstower (dailykos)

Fri Jun 22, 2007 at 11:32:04 AM CDT

Not so many years ago, Missouri was a sane state. Like many other Midwestern states, it flipped back and forth between left and right, playing weathervane to the national mood. But with a near total Republican takeover, 21st Century Missouri has become the Disneyland of neo-conservatism, the place where all the crap that the rabid right would love to impose at the national level gets tried out on smaller scale. Fortunately, there are still enough Democrats in the legislature to trip up some proposals, but the wish list for the Republicans has been astounding.

Unfortunately, too many way, way, way right proposals do slip through. And one of those that made it into law was this.

The title stated that the bill "related to ethics," while offering references to sections of state statute that would be affected by the legislation.

The bill itself, meanwhile, contains numerous provisions related to political donations and reporting requirements. Chief among those is an elimination of campaign donation limits, which had been capped at $1,275 per election for a statewide candidate, $650 for state Senate candidates and $325 for state House candidates.

Got that? The Republican idea of "ethics" was removal of all limits in donations to a campaign. There were other provisions in the original bill, ones that actually did set some limits on personal conflicts of interest, but (and here's a shocker) a state court struck down those requirements, while leaving the unlimited donations part of the bill in place.

Since the campaign finance law went into place, contributions to political candidates have been as high as $100,000 from a single donor.

Want to buy yourself a state legislator for $10,000 or so? Step right up. Inside track to the governor? Open that checkbook.

The state supreme court is currently considering this law, but frankly the odds that they'll can it are extremely small, especially since the only case pressed to them was the one against the other provisions of the law. No, the only way to put Missouri back in the realm of sane policy is to oust the horde that's settled on Jefferon City. Unless someone out there wants to take advantage of the door the Republicans pushed open to pour in some assistance, that's going to mean a lot of small donations to match the dollars from corporate interests, and a lot of shoe leather worn down to counter the media access available to the right.


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