Oh Missouri. There are many silly laws still on the books in the United States, but this one may take the cake.
This week a Bill was presented by Representative Bart Korman (R) that requires lawmakers to report sex between themselves and lobbyists on all ethics forms, although it is unknown who will determine the monetary value of such sexual acts. It is not clear as to whether each encounter needs to be listed individually or just the person’s name with an estimated dollar value of said…gifts. I jest, there is no requirement for monetary value.
Here is the actual verbiage from the proposed Bill (that will most likely never pass):
“the term “gift” shall include sexual relations between a registered lobbyist and a member of the general assembly or his or her staff. Relations between married persons or between persons who entered into a relationship prior to the registration of the lobbyist, the election of the member to the general assembly, or the employment of the staff person shall not be reportable under this subdivision. The reporting of sexual relations for purposes of this subdivision shall not require a dollar valuation.”
If you were thinking “there must be more to this story” then you would be correct. What we have here is a classic kindergarten game of “if I can’t have it, neither can you” that dates back to a kerfuffle related to a fancypants dinner “meeting” held in January 2015. The House Telecommunications Committee, which is led by none other than Rep. Korman, held a “meeting” at the Jefferson City Country Club, where the men dined on fancy steaks and other high priced entrees. Oh, and this dinner was fully paid for by a lobbying group that the Committee oversees.
The press got wind of it and the public was so incensed that Speaker John Diehl ordered all future meetings be held at the Capital. Rep. Korman tried to justify the Committee’s actions by saying that meeting at the club for dinner was the only time the group could congregate.
It should be noted that Rep. Korman isn’t the first Committee member to conduct “meetings” at the Jefferson City Country Club. In fact, it has been reported by the Columbia Daily Tribune that in 2014, many other Committees hosted “meetings” at the very same club, with bills well in excess of the cost of Rep. Korman’s group dinner. It appears that Korman’s dinner, for whatever reasons, was the breaking point. No more fancy dinners paid for by lobbyists. Clearly, this didn’t go over well.
So here we are, one year later, and Rep. Korman proposes this quite bizarre Bill that requires sex be listed as a “gift.” What does that mean, though? Is he insinuating that lobbyists are engaging in sexual activity with lawmakers on a regular basis? Is this directed specifically at Speaker Diehl or another member of the House? So many questions and no answers…yet.
Oh Missouri, never change.
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