Gov. Eric Greitens and Republican leaders of the General Assembly will go through the motions a few more weeks on ethics reform. Prediction: Nothing major will happen.
That’s especially true when it comes to a needed ban on lobbyists’ gifts for lawmakers.
Missourians who have become used to living in one of the nation’s most ethically challenged legislatures will continue to do so.
It’s laughable that Greitens claims he’s leading the charge for big changes this year.
Jason Hancock of The Kansas City Star has another well-reported story this week looking at Greitens’ reliance on often untraceable “dark money” to help fund his actions, from his inauguration to his current time in office.
Because Greitens is acting this way, plenty of other lawmakers are questioning his holier-than-thou attitude about changing ethics laws that apply to them.
Which is worse? Legislators accepting free dinners from lobbyists? Or Greitens raking in large, hidden donations from lord knows who?
They’re both pretty bad, actually. Taxpayers don’t need to have undue influence guiding the actions of lawmakers of both parties.
“Gov. Greitens ran on draining the swamp,” said fellow Republican Rob Schaaf, a St. Joseph state senator. “Yet he’s accepting dark money. And he needs to know that we’re going to be talking about it every day until the end of session. I hope he’s listening.”
Don’t get your hopes up. Greitens has had a tin ear on this issue for many months, including during the 2016 campaign.
GOP lawmakers hold all the power to get anything done, so the blame will fall squarely on them when they don’t.
Why is that prediction so easily made?
After all, a Senate committee recently approved a cap on gifts to lawmakers, with what would appear to be plenty of time to get this issue through the legislature in the next month.
Alas, all kinds of amendments reportedly are be ahead, which could derail the measure.
Meanwhile, Senate President Pro Tem Ron Richard has his own huge ethical challenges.
He’s been accused of a “pay to play” on a bad bill that could strip consumers of their rights to sue companies that may have ripped them off.
Who wants this law passed? Joplin businessman David Humphreys, who gave Richard a $100,000 check last December, just after Richard had introduced his anti-consumer bill. Oh, and it could damage a lawsuit filed against Humphreys’ company.
How convenient — for Richard and for Humphreys, but not Missouri consumers.
Sum it all up, and chances are extremely high that the swamp won’t be drained this year in Missouri.