History of Ethics Legislation in Missouri


  • Missouri Supreme Court confirms the unconstitutionality of SB 844.


  • SB 844 is ruled unconstitutional on the technicality that it, SB 844, covers multiple subjects and because, due to an oversight, banks were disallowed from making contributions to PACs.


  • Legislature amends the regulations regarding money transfers between political party committees and political action committees.  SB 844
    • Effects: Limited committee-to-committee money transfers; made it a crime to obstruct a Missouri Ethics Commission investigation; allowed the Commission to initiate its own investigations; required donations of $500 or more during legislative session to be reported in 48 hours; made it a crime for the governor to offer a lawmaker a job in return for a vote.


  • First major purge of legislators due to term limits.
    • Effects: 73 of 163 members (45%) of the house were term limited. 12 of 34 members (35%) of the senate were term limited.


  • Legislature amends lobbyist regulations. SB 16
    • Effects: Numerous changes including the mandated availability of lobbyist reports on the internet by Jan. 1 1999.

1994 – 1998

  • The various elements of SB 650 and Proposition A are invalidated by the courts.


Two massive campaign finance reform measures passed:

  • SB 650: Campaign contribution limits: $250-$1000 (depending on the office); “Voluntary” campaign spending limits: $30,000 to $1.5 mil.; $10,000 limits on contributions from state parties; Limits on “war chests” to 25% of spending limits for that office; Donor disclosure; Bars fundraising during session
  • Proposition A – (74% yes/26% no): Campaign contribution limits: $100-$300 depending on office; No spending limits; No limits on contributions from state parties; Limit on cash contributions: $25; Donor disclosure; Sets up “Commission on Fair Elections


  • Voters approve some of the strictest term limits in the country by a margin of 75% to 25%.
    • Effects on term limits: legislators can serve only eight years in each of the house and senate. This is a lifetime limit.


  • Legislature creates the Missouri Ethics Commission.
    Section 105.955, RSMo
  • Effects: Created the Missouri Ethics Commission, changed the definition of lobbyists, and required more disclosure of gifts and meals to legislator.