“What’s in a name?” Juliet famously asked Romeo. It turned out that was a trick question. The star-crossed lovers would learn that names matter a great deal, both in their ability to illuminate and to obfuscate.
The Clean Missouri ballot initiative is well-named. How does one not support such a well-named measure? We certainly cannot support a dirty Missouri. Alas, it turns out that Clean Missouri is one of those names used intentionally to deceive. A rose by this name smells an awful lot like horse manure.
Assuming it wins a recent legal challenge, Clean Missouri, or Amendment 1, will be on the ballot in November. Here are some of the key items contained in the measure, per the Clean Missouri website: eliminate nearly all lobbyist gifts in the General Assembly; require that legislative records be open to the public; lower campaign contribution limits for state legislative candidates; require politicians to wait two years before becoming lobbyists; and make sure that our politicians focus on important priorities – not just on what big donors and lobbyists want.
That last one is our favorite, but we also left one out. Sprinkled in among some of those [seemingly] common-sense concepts is this one: ensure that neither political party is given an unfair advantage when new maps are drawn after the next census. Well, that does not seem to fit in with the other things, now does it?
Todd Graves, chairman of the Missouri GOP, told the Kansas City Star that the combining of multiple issues into a single ballot initiative is called “logrolling.” He referred to the common-sense, highly popular pieces of the bill as “vote candy.” That sounds about right.
There is no part of Amendment 1 that is actually focused on cleaning up Missouri’s state political system. What it is about is that last item, the one about the new maps. Amendment 1 proposes “a nonpartisan expert to draw fair legislative district maps, which would then be reviewed by a citizen commission.”
That proposal is radically different from the redistricting process in place today. The other items on the initiative, the vote candy, are incredibly minor by comparison. They sound good but accomplish little, which is a fair definition of most political ploys. For instance, the item about lowering campaign contribution limits would lower the maximum contribution to a state Senate candidate from $2,600 to, wait for it, $2,500. That will not exactly make a dent in the universe.
The idea of redrawing district maps, however, could alter the state government as we know it. Who would want to do such a thing? To answer that question, we need to follow the money.
In January, Clean Missouri received $250,000 from the MOVE Ballot Fund, a St. Louis-based political action committee. MOVE made this generous donation mere days after receiving a $300,000 cash infusion from none other than George Soros, or more accurately from The Open Society Policy Center which is, wait for it, Soros’ Washington-based lobbying firm.
In short, Soros is using dark money and lobbyists to act like he is cleaning up campaign finance and lobbying operations in our state. Mr. Soros, a wolf in sheep’s clothing still bears evil, evil intentions.
Clean Missouri has nothing to do with cleaning up our state, and everything to do with furthering the radical agenda of billionaire George Soros. If it does make its way onto the ballot in November, vote no on Amendment 1. There is nothing clean about it.