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Missouri Supreme Court rules for campaign violation fees

Missouri Supreme Court rules for campaign violation fees

February 13th, 2018 by Associated Press in Missouri News

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) -- The Missouri Supreme Court on Tuesday sided with the state Ethics Commission after it charged a former state lawmaker nearly $230,000 for campaign finance violations.

Judges unanimously upheld the decision by the commission, which is responsible for checking compliance with campaign finance laws, to penalize former St. Louis Democratic Sen. Robin Wright-Jones.

A 2013 commission decision said that Wright-Jones failed to accurately report a couple hundred thousand dollars in expenditures and contributions by state deadlines, received a double reimbursement for vehicle mileage from both the state and her campaign fund, and made more cash expenditures than allowed by law.

Wright-Jones was required to pay 10 percent of the fee initially, with the rest being waived if she filed additional campaign reports and didn't violate any more campaign finance laws.

But Wright-Jones challenged the penalty, arguing in court that the charges amounted to unconstitutionally excessive fines. Her attorney, Bernard Edwards, Jr., argued that she should have been charged at most $1,000 per violation.

The high court disagreed.

Wright-Jones was elected to the Senate in 2008. She lost re-election in 2012. Edwards said they're reviewing their options.