New limits to campaign financing confuse Missouri’s political candidates

Just more than a year away from what could be a crucial 2018 election, Missouri candidates are grappling with the new restrictions to campaign donations mandated by the voter-approved measure known as Amendment 2.

Close to 70 percent of Missouri voters approved the constitutional amendment in 2016, putting an end to the state’s 10-year status as one of only a handful of states without donation limits. But flaws in the new system are prompting the General Assembly and political activists to seek more changes.

The Missouri Ethics Commission, charged with enforcing the new law, has had its hands full. The six-person panel has issued at least 15 different opinions addressing various provisions of Amendment 2. It’s also been caught in the middle of several lawsuits.

Some of the panel’s opinions have chipped away at one of Amendment 2’s core principles: Reducing the amount of money in state-based elections. That’s because there was little in the measure to stop the formation of political action committees, or PACs, that can raise lots of money to help candidates or causes.

The commission’s executive director, James Klahr, agrees that the amendment’s provisions can be confusing. “Hopefully the commission’s opinions have clarified most of the questions that people have had about Amendment 2 and how it applies to their situations,” he said.

Read more: St. Louis Public Radio

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