A new bill would require Missouri lawmakers to disclose any lobbyists they might be having sex with on ethics forms. Unlike non-sexual gifts, lawmakers wouldn’t have to estimate how much the sex is worth monetarily. Which is really too bad.
As the Columbia Tribune reports, the reasoning behind the bill is a joke, kind of, mixed with a healthy dose of what I think we can safely call shade. It was filed by State Representative Bart Korman, who got in trouble this time last year for holding official House Telecommunications Committee hearings at a country club, alongside steak dinners paid for by the Missouri Telecommunications Industry Association, which is, yes, the industry that committee is supposed to regulate. Korman and his fellow lawmakers on the committee essentially told the press that a country club over a steak dinner was the only time they could find to hold the hearing:
Great. Just flawless. The incident cued outrage and calls for ethics reform; now, Korman is weighing in with the bill, which would add “sexual relations” to the things that have to be disclosed on ethics forms, alongside more tangible gifts like steak dinners:
For purposes of subdivision (2) of this subsection, 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.
Missouri State Representatives are, apparently, notably creative when it comes to dreaming up bills: not long ago, State Rep. Stacey Newman filed one that would put gun buyers under the same restrictions as people seeking abortions. Both bills are doomed, for different reasons, but neither of them are really a bad idea.
Korman’s priceless facial expression when being asked about the steak dinners. Screenshot via KCRG/Progress Missouri/YouTube