Representative Bart Korman, a Republican from High Hill, has introduced a bill defining sex between lobbyists and legislators or legislative staff as a “gift” and requiring lobbyists to list such gifts along with the more usual tickets to sporting events, meals, booze, and other favors in their reports filed with the Missouri Ethics Commission. He says his bill “will improve the integrity and transparency in our process.” It is also the most titillating proposed law in many years.
One weakness is that it is not clear whether the legislation requires a report to be filed for each “gift” or if the filer has to file during each filing period if the gifting is continuing, and whether a report should be filed with the giving ends, much as a report is made when a campaign committee or continuing committee shuts down.
Some people would be exempt. Lobbyists who are married to legislators would not have to report the amount of gifting that goes on within their marriage (although, apparently, any gifting on the side would have to be reported). And if the two started exchanging gifts before they became lobbyists or legislators or legislative staff member, they’re not required to file a report, either. So if you are a lobbyist who is a friend with benefits with someone who becomes a member of the legislature, you can continue to exchange gifts without reporting.
In other words, celibacy should not be a penalty for the companion of a lobbyist who is elected to the legislature or a legislator whose FWB becomes a lobbyist.
This is a great example of compassionate conservatism but we think it can be improved.
THE SPEAKER: Gentleman from the 164th.
GENTLEMAN: Thank you Mr. Speaker. I want to thank the Gentleman from the 42nd for this fine piece of legislation that will drive thousands of Missourians to the Missouri Ethics Commission’s internet site. I think that website is not used nearly enough by citizens who should want to know more about the people wanting their money and their votes. However, I think we can make those reports more likely to draw public attention to the commission website and make the reports more, uh, valuable to the public with a few minor changes. Therefore, I have an amendment.
THE SPEAKER: Send it forward
(Doorman takes amendment to clerk).
THE SPEAKER: Read the Amendment.
CLERK: House Amendment Number One to House Bill Number 2059, page three, Section three, line 67, by striking the last sentence reading, “The reporting of sexual relations for purposes of this subdivision shall not require a dollar valuation,” and substituting thereto the following language: “The reporting of sexual relations for purposes of this subdivision shall require for each instance a dollar valuation, including but not limited to the cost of any meal, movie or other show or attraction, wine or other drink, limousine, carriage ride, or other forms of conveyance including but not limited to merry-go-rounds and airplanes affiliated with the gift, and any special clothing purchased or provided for the exchange of said gift.
Further amend said bill with the following:
(4) The Missouri Ethics Commission shall require such information to be filed for each instance on a special form designated as Form 50, said form to also include the following information:
—Was it as good for you as for the giver/recipient?
—On ten-point basis, rate quality of giver.
—On ten-point basis, rate quality of the receiving experience
—Approximate length of time from beginning to end of gift exchange including any unwrapping. ______ hours ____minutes (approximations accepted)
—Number of gifts given in 24-hour span ____
—Description of any restraints used (additional pages supplementary to the form are allowed).
—Mark one: Daylight ___ Night ___
—Mark one: Lights on ___ Lights off ___
—Indoors ___ Outdoors ____
–Feathers? Yes ___ No ___
—Were mirrors involved? Yes ___ No ____
—(If applicable) Kind of vehicle in which gift was given
—(If applicable) Room in Capitol in which gift was given
—(If applicable) Description of non-Capitol room in which gift was given
—Description of any toys that facilitated exchange of gifts (use back of form if necessary.)
—Describe position(s) of the gifting parties during the time of the exchange (Additional pages supplementary to the form are allowed.).
—(If applicable) Describe any medications or other special applications that made the gift possible or of greater experience including but not limited to fruit and whipped cream (additional pages supplementary to the form are allowed.).
—Number of participants: two ___ three ___Not to boast, but ____
—Gift given to someone of different gender? Yes ___ No ___ 5th Amendment ___
—Was safe gifting exercised? Yes ____ Uh-oh____
And renumbering following sections accordingly.
THE SPEAKER: Gentleman from the 164th , Would you like to explain your amendment?
GENTLEMAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I think the amendment is self-explanatory. As I said, I think it will encourage more people to find valuable information on the Missouri Ethics Commission website. I move the adoption and will welcome any questions.