Lobbyist Reform Bill Would Create Statehouse Trysts as Reportable Gifts

(AP) – A Missouri bill proposed this week would require lobbyists to report sexual relationships they have with lawmakers or their staff, a change the sponsor says would promote transparency.
The bill by Rep. Bart Korman, a High Hill Republican, would define those sexual relations as “gifts,” which now include presents to lawmakers from lobbyists and must be regularly reported to the Missouri Ethics Commission.
“For the citizens of Missouri, if there’s a situation like that I think they should know,” Korman said. “To improve the integrity and transparency in our process, I believe it’s something we should look at.”
He said the proposal was partly influenced by the relationship between former GOP House Speaker John Diehl and a former staffer to Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon, although the staffer was not a lobbyist.
Diehl left the House in disarray on the last day of the 2015 legislative session when he resigned after admitting to exchanging sexually suggestive texts with a Capitol intern.
Diehl’s departure, along with the resignation of a senator accused of sexually harassing interns, spurred legislative leaders to call for changes to ethics laws this year.

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