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Amendment 2 - Campaign Finance Limits

Missouri’s electric co-ops have joined a federal lawsuit to challenge the constitutionality of portions of Amendment 2, the Constitutional Amendment passed in November. While we are supportive of contribution limits, this amendment does not treat all entities the same which forced us to join the lawsuit.

The co-ops are strongly opposed to certain provisions in Amendment 2 that prohibits our 47 member-owned, nonprofit co-ops from contributing to our political action committee (PAC) while at the same time allowing other companies and special interest groups that may have anti-co-op agendas to continue to make contributions to their own PACs. That is blatantly unfair, and we believe, clearly unconstitutional.

Amendment 2 is nine pages long with fine print and contains more than just campaign finance caps. One section of Amendment 2 allows PACs to receive contributions from businesses and entities "formed under chapters 347 to 360" of the statutes. The problem is that Missouri’s rural electric cooperatives were formed under Chapter 394. Others also now barred from making PAC contributions include fraternal benefit societies, mutual insurance companies, state chartered banks, credit unions and any other entities not formed under Chapters 347 to 360.

Whether this was a drafting error or whether the proponents of the Initiative Petition were targeting someone is unknown. It is clear that electric co-ops will be hurt while those with interests adverse to ours will not. Unlike other utilities, rural electric co-ops are nonprofit and are owned, operated and governed by our members. Missouri’s electric co-op members should be allowed to participate in the political process just like anyone else.

AMEC along with others may be forced this session to seek legislation to correct those portions of Amendment 2 that the co-ops currently are challenging in court.

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