Missouri State Auditor Nicole Galloway said on Monday that a bill pre-filed this session would bring greater transparency to the awarding of state contracts.
Senate Bill 148, sponsored by state Sen. Scott Sifton, of Affton, requires individuals and entities entering into state contracts of more than $5,000 to disclose any payments made to political organizations, and any person with a substantial interest in a business with such a state contract to annually disclose political contributions of $500 or more. Those payments would be public information.
"Taxpayers don't know whether government businesses is being affected by the corrupting influence of secret, dark money," Galloway said. "This bill would bring transparency to the contract process by making sure Missourians know when taxpayer dollars are being used in state contracts that go to dark money contributors."
"Transparency and accountability in government are essential," Sen. Sifton said. "Missouri needs tougher protections against pay-to-play."
The "Transparency in Government Contracting Act" defines a political organization as any not-for-profit that qualifies for tax-exempt status under section 501(c)(4) of the IRS code. Currently, the identities of contributors to such organizations are anonymous, leading to what is referred to as "dark money." The bill would exempt donations to committees or other organizations that are required to file contribution and expenditure reports with the Missouri Ethics Commission, as those are already public information.