The Bad Old Days in Missouri Politics

Article excerpt

State Sen. Franc Flotron says that campaign finance reform in Missouri has failed, so he sponsored a move to go back to the bad old days when money flowed from well-heeled supporters to political candidates with no limits. No one can deny that Missouri's experience has been less than successful, but Mr. Flotron's response is wrong. The voters have said forcefully money plays too large a role in politics. The Legislature should feel the same.

Currently, campaign donation limits are $250 for Missouri House candidates, $500 for Missouri Senate candidates and $1,025 for statewide candidates. Limits for candidates for local offices also exist, depending on an area's population. Stricter limits had been approved by Missouri voters in a 1994 proposition, but they were struck down in federal court. Still, though the numbers may have changed, the strong support that voters gave the measure at the polls - a 3-1 ratio of approval - shows that the concept of limiting contributions has firm backing.

Mr. Flotron, a Chesterfield Republican, feels otherwise. He says that limits on the amounts that contributors can give directly to candidate has simply led to the creation of independent groups that can rake in unlimited cash as long as their efforts are not coordinated with that of the candidates they favor. Such diversion, Mr. …