Republican Missouri state Rep. Bart Korman introduced a bill in the Missouri House last Wednesday that would define sex between lawmakers and lobbyists as a “gift” and require such incidents to be reported to the Missouri Ethics Commission.
House Bill 2059, which sets rules for which expenditures lobbyists must report, states, “The term ‘gift’ shall include sexual relations between a registered lobbyist and a member of the general assembly or his or her staff.”
Rep. Korman told KSHB-TV, “From a citizen aspect, if you’re an elected official having a relationship with a lobbyist to that degree, I think that they should know. A citizen should know if that’s going on.”
The bill contains an exception for “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,” presumably to exempt elected officials who are already coincidentally in a romantic relationship with someone technically employed as a lobbyist.
The bill’s text adds, “The reporting of sexual relations for purposes of this subdivision shall not require a dollar valuation.”
Explaining the purpose of that particular line of legislative text, Rep. Korman said, “Thats been the local discussion, how to price that or how to put a performance on it and I try to address it as a zero price tag to eliminate that discussion if at all possible.”
According to The Kansas City Star, the House is working on legislative ethics reform in response to sex scandals that rocked the Missouri General Assembly last year.
KHSB-TV notes that former Missouri House Speaker John J. Diehl Jr. resigned last year after sexually-charged text messages that he sent to an intern were published in The Kansas City Star. Former Senator Paul LeVota resigned last summer amid allegations that he sexually harassed an intern.