Tension is boiling over in the Missouri Senate after a group of lawmakers stalled action on all bills this week and demanded a debate over whether nonprofit organizations, including one formed to promote Gov. Eric Greitens’ political agenda, should be forced to disclose their donors.
For more than an hour Monday, the Senate stood at ease as a group of senators, most of them Republican, worked behind the scenes to push for comprehensive ethics reform, which they argue should take precedence over other items on the Senate’s to-do list.
The Legislature has until Friday to send a spending plan to the governor. After mutually agreeing to move the budget process along, leaders conducted Tuesday morning a hearing on a bill laying out requirements for “dark money” disclosure.
The proposal is sponsored by Sen. Rob Schaaf, R-St. Joseph, who has been targeted by the pro-Greitens “A New Missouri” group in digital attack ads, some featuring Schaaf’s personal cellphone number and calling on him to “stop siding with liberals.”
Though legislators on both sides of the aisle have expressed frustration with Schaaf’s use of the filibuster to block or stall legislative priorities, senators balked at the advertisements. Greitens was quick to distance himself from the nonprofit at a bill signing last week, but the ads have nonetheless galvanized support for changes that would force such organizations to be more transparent.