Missouri Gov. Mike Parson’s sudden shift on accepting gifts from lobbyists is a step in the right direction for the state’s brand-new top executive.
Less than a week after taking over for former Gov. Eric Greitens, Parson made a strong move in favor of ethics reform in Jefferson City. Lawmakers should follow Parson’s lead when they reconvene in January.
Parson and his staff accepted more than $30,000 worth of lobbyist gifts during his six years in the Missouri Senate. He was the only statewide elected official to take any lobbyist gifts in 2017, tallying more than $4,000 worth. Gifts valued at $1,100 came in during the first four months of 2018.
That’s a departure from the Greitens administration. The former governor used an executive order to ban his staff from knowingly soliciting or accepting any gift from a lobbyist, among other things.
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Parson should use the power of his office to convince legislators the time is right for ethics reform inside the Capitol. Now, he can lead by example.
Missourians deserve elected officials who are more interested in public service than free dinners and sports tickets from lobbyists.
The Kansas City Star Editorial Board