January 25, 2017
In 1994, Missouri voters enacted campaign contribution limits by proposition; in 2008, the state legislature repealed those rules. In 2016, Missouri voters pushed back: Amendment 2 was designed to avoid a similar outcome by enshrining contribution limits in the state’s constitution. The limits apply to state and judicial elections, specifically to candidates, committees, and political parties participating in them. Amendment 2 was approved with approximately 70% of the vote.
One Missouri lawmaker, Rob Schaaf (R-34th), appears to have taken the voters’ message to heart. He recently announced plans to introduce a bill called the Taxation With Representation Act, which, as he describes it, “would let each Missourian take control of the first $100 of their own taxes and allocate those dollars to political campaigns of their choice.”
Schaaf presents a compelling vision of the advantages of such a system: making candidates and political parties more accountable to everyday citizens and giving those citizens both an incentive and a mechanism for engaging with their government, especially their elected representatives.
CREW’s vice-chair, Richard Painter, former chief White House ethics lawyer under President George W. Bush, strongly supports the bill, noting in particular:
[T]his solution also should have a net positive budget impact … because office holders will turn to ordinary voters rather than to lobbyists, trade associations, unions and other special interests for campaign money. Their campaigns and their careers will depend upon the people who pay for government rather than the people who make money from government. And this is as it should be.