Ooh! Look what I found at the Missouri Ethics Commission, part 1

Ooh! Look what I found at the Missouri Ethics Commission, part 2

It’s the little things.

Ron Richard 2008

You know, running for Speaker of the House is hard work. There’s all those rubber chicken dinners, the restive constituency, and don’t talk to me about that fundraising stuff. The expectations, the pressure, the dashed hopes…and it could be all for naught…

Okay, so let’s take a look at the “Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law and Order” for Ron Richard 2008:

Since this document is not available on-line, I’m going to present it in its entirety here, complete with boilerplate language.

BEFORE THE MISSOURI ETHICS COMMISSION

MISSOURI ETHICS COMMISSION

Petitioner,

v.

RON RICHARD, Candidate

RON RICHARD 2008  

Respondents.

No. 07A196

FINDINGS OF FACT, CONCLUSIONS OF LAW AND ORDER

This is the Final Decision and Order of the Missouri Ethics Commission following a hearing pursuant to §105.961, RSMo, and Chapter 536, RSMo. The hearing was conducted before the following members of the Missouri Ethics Commission: Warren Nieburg, Michael Dunard, Michael Kilgore, Ken Legan, and Robert Simpson.

The closed hearing took place on January 31, 2008 at the offices of the Missouri Ethics Commission at 3411 A Knipp Drive, Jefferson City, Missouri 65102. The Commission was represented by Counsel. Committee Treasurer Nick Myers appeared, with counsel, and Respondent Ron Richard and Committee appeared thorough counsel.

Having considered all the competent and substantial evidence upon the whole record, the Commission finds as follows:

FINDINGS OF FACT

1. The Missouri Ethics Commission (“the Commission”) is an agency of the State of Missouri established pursuant to § 105.955, RSMo, in part for the purpose of enforcing the provisions of Chapter 130, RSMo.

2. Ron Richard is a candidate for State Representative District 129 in the August 2008 primary. An Amended Statement of Organization for Ron Richard 2008 (“Committee”) was filed on March 1, 2007 with the Petitioner, Missouri Ethics Commission.

3. Nick Myers, CPA, is the treasurer of Ron Richard 2008, and has been treasurer since on or about December 8, 2006.

4. Richard, as candidate, is responsible for filing campaign finance reports for the Committee, pursuant to § 130.058, RSMo.

5. Pursuant to § 130.026, RSMo 2000, the Missouri Ethics Commission is the appropriate office designated to receive campaign finance reports for a candidate committee for state representative.

6. In 1994, the Missouri General Assembly approved Senate Bill 650, which, among other things, provided limits on the amount of money which candidates for certain offices could accept as a campaign contribution form anyone donor, as those limits were set forth in § 130.032, RSMo.

7. In 2006, the General Assembly passed House Bill 1900, which was subsequently signed by the Governor. It contained a provision, which was to become effective on January 1, 2007, to repeal the provisions in § 130.032, RSMo which established limitations on contributions from individual donors.

8. On July 19, 2007, the Missouri Supreme Court issued its opinion in Trout v. State of Missouri, 231 S.W. 3d 140 (Mo. Bane 2007).

9. On August 27, 2007, the Missouri Supreme Court issued its supplemental opinion in the Trout case.

10. The following contributions have been reported as received by Committee:

Date Contribution Aggregate Reported Contributor

6/1 8/2007 $5,000.00 $5,000.00 Anheuser-Busch COS, Inc

6/5/2007 $2,500.00 $2,500.00 Carl & Kathi Glassman

6/29/2007 $3,881.39 $3,88139 CFI (in-kind)

5/30/2007 $5,000.00 $5,000.00 Childress Royality Company

5/22/2007 $5,000.00 $5,000.00 David Humpreys

7/19/2007 $2,500.00 $3,775.00 District 1 MHCA PAC

6/15/2007 $5,000.00 $5,000.00 Empire District Electric Co

6/20/2007 $2,500.00 $2,500.00 Ethemae Humphrey

6/18/2007 $2,000.00 $2,000.00 Express Scripts, Inc.

8/9/2007 $300.00 $1,575.00 Freeman Physicians Groups PAC

6/15/2007 $750.00 $2,025.00 Gary & Suzanne Duncan

6/14/2007 $1,500.00 $1,500.00 Hany Cornell

7/19/2007 $325.00 $1,525.00 Horne Building Industry PAC

6/14/2007 $2,500.00 $2,500.00 Lance Beshore

6/14/2007 $5,000.00 $5,000.00 Leggett & Platt

7/19/2007 $1,000.00 $2,000.00 Mark & Kristi Rhoads

6/11/2007 $325.00 $1,525.00 MBA Gateway Region PAC

6/11/2007 $325.00 $1,525.00 MBA Mark Twain Region PAC

6/11/2007 $325.00 $1,525.00 MBA Ozark Region PAC

6/11/2007 $325.00 $1,525.00 MBA River Heritage Region PAC

6/11/2007 $325.00 $1,525.00 MBA State PAC

6/11/2007 $325.00 $1,525.00 MBA Truman Region PAC

6/25/2007 $5,000.00 $5,000.00 McEagle Pool Account

5/29/2007   $2,500.00 $5,500.00 Missouri Health Care Association PAC

5/1/2007 $5,000.00 $5,000.00 Missouri Independent Bankers Assn PAC

6/11/2007 $5,000.00 $10,000.00 Missouri Independent Bankers Assn PAC

7/10/2007 $2,000.00 $2,000.00 Missouri Restaurant Association PAC

1/2/2007 $2,000.00 $2,000.00 MO Cable PAC

5/30/2007 $5,000.00 $5,000.00 Rudolph E & Dorothy Farber

6/18/2007 $2,000.00 $2,000.00 Sonnenschein

6/15/2007 $25,000.00 $25,000.00 SWMO Leadership PAC

7/19/2007 $5,000.00 $5,000.00 Technology Drive

6/15/2007 $5,000.00 $6,275.00 The Empire District Electric Co PAC

11. Committee reported money on hand of$151,256.04 at the close of the December 31, 2007 reporting period on its January 15, 2008 quarterly financial disclosure report, including $42,400 of miscellaneous receipts from committees which refunded contributions made by Ron Richard 2008 to those committees.

12. Neither Ron Richard nor the Committee had actual notice of the potential retroactive consequences of the invalidation of the contribution limitation provisions as a result of the legal challenge to HB 1900.

13. Both Ron Richard and the Committee reasonably relied upon the House Bill 1900 provision which ostensibly repealed the limits on contribution limitations on § 130.032, RSMo.

14. Respondents contend that Ron Richard was a candidate for Speaker-designate of the House of Representatives Republican Caucus on September 19, 2007 and that it was traditional in Missouri for candidates for leadership positions in the House of Representatives to engage in fund-raising activities in support of their caucus. [emphasis added]

15. Respondents contend that the committee accepted contributions in anticipation of the election for Speaker-designate of the Republican Caucus for the House of Representatives, in good faith and in reliance of HB 1900 and the amendments to § 130.032, RSMo as well as the enactment of § 130.016.8, RSMo. [emphasis added]

16. Respondents contend that retroactive application would create a hardship because contributions received by the committee and expenditures were made in anticipation of the election for Speaker-designate of the Republican Caucus for the House of Representatives on September 19, 2007; that based upon the statutes presumed to be in effect on January 1, 2007, candidates for leadership positions in the Missouri House of Representatives could no longer form committees subject to contributions limits of $1,275 which had been repealed; and based upon the financial impact upon the committee if the committee refunded the contributions which exceeded $325 as reported on the committee’s January 15 quarterly report.

CONCLUSIONS OF LAW

1. On July 19,2007, the Missouri Supreme Court issued its opinion in Trout v. State of Missouri, 231 S. W. 3d 140 (Mo. Banc 2007) which invalidated the portion of H
ouse Bill 1900 which had attempted to repeal the limits on campaign contributions in § 130.032, RSMo.

2. In its July 19,2007 opinion, the Court held that “[t]he result is that section 130.032 as it was constituted before H.B. 1900 remains the same.”

3. §§130.032.l(3) and 130.032.2 RSMo provide as follows:

1. In addition to the limitations imposed pursuant to section 130.031, the amount of contributions made by or accepted from any person other than the candidate in anyone election shall not exceed the following:

(3) To elect an individual to the office of state representative, two hundred fifty dollars;

2. For purposes of this subsection “base year amount” shall be the contribution limits prescribed in this section on January 1, 1995. Such limits shall be increased on the first day of January in each even-numbered year by multiplying the base year amount by the cumulative consumer price index, as defined in section 104.010, RSMo, and rounded to the nearest twenty-five dollar amount, for all years since January 1, 1995.

4. The adjusted contribution limits effective January 19,2006 made by or accepted from any person, other than the candidate, in anyone election to elect an individual to the office of state representative is $325.00.

5. Prior to January 1,2007, the largest contribution allowable by law was $1,275.00 for the election of a statewide candidate under §§130.032.1(1) and 130.032.2 RSMo.

6. Prior to January 1,2007, candidates for Speaker of the House could form a committee in support of their candidacy for the leadership position and accept the largest amount of contributions allowable by law. See MEC Advisory Opinion 1995.05.CF 127 and 2003.12.106. [emphasis added]

7. Effective January 1,2007, § 130.016.8, RSMo was enacted as follows:

No member of or candidate for the general assembly shall form a candidate committee for the office of speaker of the house of representatives or president pro tern of the senate.

8. In its supplemental opinion of August 27, 2007, the Supreme Court stated: “In any case in which an enforcement action is taken, those individuals or committees must be given the opportunity to present, as a defense to that action, their individual facts and circumstances that they may contend present sufficient hardship to justify a departure from the usual rule of fully retroactive application, …If a candidate believes that retroactive application of the decision would be a hardship in his or her particular circumstances because he or she acted in good faith and in reasonable reliance and retroactive application would work an injustice, that candidate must develop with specificity what those circumstances are to the Missouri Ethics Commission.”

9. Committee has reported receiving $146,743.39 in contributions in excess of $325 made by or accepted from any person other than the candidate in anyone election; and it has reported having received contributions of $82,981.39 in excess of $1,275.00, between January 1, 2007 and July 19, 2007, which were above the amount which could be made to or accepted from any person other than the candidate for a leadership position in anyone election. [emphasis added]

10. The Commission concludes that Ron Richard and Committee acted in good faith and in reasonable reliance on the provisions enacted in House Bill 1900 which were intended to repeal contribution limitations.

11. The Commission concludes that fully retroactive application of the Trout decision in this case would work an injustice because contributions were received by the committee and expenditures were made by it in anticipation of the election for Speaker-designate of the Republican Caucus for the House of Representatives; that based upon statutes believed to be in effect on January 1,2007, candidates for leadership positions in the Missouri House of Representatives could no longer form committees subject to contributions limits of $1,275 which had been repealed; and because of the financial impact upon the committee if the committee refunded the contributions which exceeded $325, received on or before July 19,2007, based upon the money on hand as reported on the Committee’s January 15 quarterly report.

12. The Commission further concludes, however, that Trout should be applied retroactively, subject to the provisions in the Order set out below, to this Committee by applying the contribution limit of $1 ,275 for statewide candidates to the contributions which were received by this Committee on or before July 19, 2007. Retroactive application of the contribution limit of $1,275 as applied to the contributions received by this committee means that $82,981.39 in contributions, as set out in paragraph 10 of the Findings of Fact, were in excess of the amount of contributions which could be made by or accepted from any person other than the candidate in any one election as follows: [emphasis added]

Date Contribution Aggregate Reported Contributor Overage  

6/18/2007 $5,000.00 $5,000.00 Anheuser-Busch cas, Inc $3,725.00

6/5/2007 $2,500.00 $2,500.00 Carl & Kathi Glassman $1,225.00

6/29/2007 $3,881.39 $3,881.39 CFI (in-kind) $2,606.39

5/30/2007 $5,000.00 $5,000.00 Childress Royality Company $3,725.00

5/22/2007 $5,000.00 $5,000.00 David Humpreys $3,725.00

7/19/2007 $2,500.00 $3,775.00 District I MHCA PAC $2,500.00

6/15/2007 $5,000.00 $5,000.00 Empire District Electric Co $3,725.00

6/20/2007 $2,500.00 $2,500.00 Ethemae Humphrey $1,225.00

6/1 8/2007 $2,000.00 $2,000.00 Express Scripts, Inc. $725.00

8/9/2007 $300.00 $1,575.00 Freeman Physicians Groups PAC $300.00

6/15/2007 $750.00 $2,025.00 Gary & Suzanne Duncan $750.00

6/1 4/2007 $1,500.00 $1,500.00 Harry Cornell $225.00

7/19/2007 $325.00 $1,525.00 Home Building Industry PAC $300.00

6/14/2007 $2,500.00 $2,500.00 Lance Beshore $1,225.00

6/14/2007 $5,000.00 $5,000.00 Leggett & Platt $3,725.00

7/19/2007 $1,000.00 $2,000.00 Mark.& Kristi Rhoads $725.00

6/11/2007 $325.00 $1,525.00 MBA Gateway Region PAC $300.00

6/11/2007 $325.00 $1,525.00 MBA Mark Twain Region PAC $300.00

6/11/2007 $325.00 $1,525.00 MEA Ozark Region PAC $300.00

6/11/2007 $325.00 $1,525.00 MBA River Heritage Region PAC $300.00

6/11/2007 $325.00 $1,525.00 MBA State PAC $300.00

6/11/2007 $325.00 $1,525.00

MBA Truman Region PAC $300.00

6/25/2007 $5,000.00 $5,000.00 McEagle Pool Account $3,725.00

5/29/2007 $2,500.00 $5,500.00 Missouri Health Care Association PAC $4,225.00

5/1 /2007 $5,000.00 $5,000.00 Missouri Independent Bankers Assn PAC see below

6/11/2007 $5,000.00 $10,000.00 Missouri Independent Bankers Assn PAC $8,725.00

7/10/2007 $2,000.00 $2,000.00 Missouri Restaurant Association PAC $725.00

1/2/2007 $2,000.00 $2,000.00 MO Cable PAC $725.00

5/30/2007 $5,000.00 $5,000.00 Rudolph E & Dorothy Farber $2,450.00

6/18/2007 $2,000.00 $2,000.00 Sonnenschein $725.00

6/15/2007 $25,000.00 $25,000.00 SWMO Leadership PAC $23,725.00

7/19/2007 $5,000.00 $5,000.00 Technology Drive $3,725.00

6/15/2007 $5,000.00 $6,275.00 The Empire District Electric Co PAC $5,000.00

[total]$82,981.3[9]

13. The Commission further concludes Trout should be applied prospectively to this Committee with regard to contributions of less than $1,275, which were received by this committee, between January 1, 2007 and July 19,2007.

14. The Commission further concludes, however, that because of the need to consider the impact of this determination on current or future opponents of Ron Richard in the 2008 elections, the remedy in this case must be structured to accommodate those interests, as well.

ORDER

It is the order of the Commission that Respondents shall not be required to return the contributions of $1,275.00 or less received between January 1, 2007 and Jul
y 19, 2007 which would, but for the prospective application of Trout in this case, be required to be returned to contributors or paid as fees under Section 130.032.7, RSMo.

It is further the order of the Commission that if the General Assembly does not pass a repeal of or an increase in the contribution limits in Section 130.032, RSMo by the end of this session or if the Governor vetoes such a bill, then the Executive Director shall provide written notice to Respondents of the contributions of more than $1,275.00 received between January 1, 2007 and July 19,2007, as listed in paragraph 10 of the Findings of Fact, which were in excess of the retroactively applied limits, and the excess amounts of those contributions would then have to be returned to those contributors within ten business days after receipt of that notice or else the Respondents shall pay to the Commission for each such contribution a surcharge and fee of $1,000 plus the amount equal to that contribution.

It is further the order of the Commission, however, that if Ron Richard has an opponent in either the primary or general election in 2008, then unless Respondents choose to return the amounts of the excess contributions referenced in the previous paragraph, the Commission will convene another hearing in this case and allow any other candidate or candidates for the same office to intervene and present evidence and argument on how to deal with level-playing-field issues as set out in the Trout decision.

SO ORDERED this 14th day of March 2008.

MISSOURI ETHICS COMMISSION

By: s/

Warren Nieburg, Chairperson

Okay, if you’re running for Speaker of the House and you need to spread it around they’ll cut you a little slack. Speaker of the House.

Let’s take a look at another case – this time I’ll cut the boilerplate:

BEFORE THE MISSOURI ETHICS COMMISSION

MISSOURI ETHICS COMMISSION

Petitioner,

v.

TOM DEMPSEY, Candidate

DEMPSEY FOR SENATE

Respondents.

No. 07A166

FINDINGS OF FACT, CONCLUSIONS OF LAW AND ORDER

…The closed hearing took place on January 24, 2008 at the offices of the Missouri Ethics Commission at 3411 A Knipp Drive, Jefferson City, Missouri 65102. The Commission was represented by Counsel. Respondent Tom Dempsey appeared in person, without counsel…

FINDINGS OF FACT

…2. Tom Dempsey is a candidate for State Senator District 23 in the August 5, 2008 primary election. An Amended Statement of Organization for Dempsey for Senate (“Committee”), his candidate committee was filed on July 13, 2007 and January 10, 2008 with the Missouri Ethics Commission.

3. Tom Dempsey was also a successful candidate for State Senator District 23 in a Special Election held September 4, 2007…

…10. The following contributions have been reported as received by Committee:

7/16/07 $1,000.00 Ron Richard 2008… [emphasis added]

So much for spending that hard raised money for the benefit of your caucus.

Uh, do members of the Senate vote for Speaker of the House? Just asking.

“…Respondents contend that Ron Richard was a candidate for Speaker-designate of the House of Representatives Republican Caucus on September 19, 2007 and that it was traditional in Missouri for candidates for leadership positions in the House of Representatives to engage in fund-raising activities in support of their caucus….”

Uh, huh. Well, do members of the Senate vote for Speaker of the House? If the answer is, “No”, then  what’s the excuse for this contribution?

What’s the excuse for letting him get away with that excuse?

Here’s another one, without the boilerplate:

BEFORE THE MISSOURI ETHICS COMMISSION

MISSOURI ETHICS COMMISSION

Petitioner,

v.

JOE SMITH, Candidate

CITIZENS FOR JOE SMITH

Respondents.

No. 07A200

FINDINGS OF FACT, CONCLUSIONS OF LAW AND ORDER

…The closed hearing took place on January 23, 2008 at the offices of the Missouri Ethics Commission at 3411 A Knipp Drive, Jefferson City, Missouri 65102. The Commission was represented by Counsel. Respondent Joe Smith appeared in person, without counsel…

FINDINGS OF FACT

…2. Joe Smith is a candidate for State Representative District 14 in the August 2008 primary. An Amended Statement of Organization for Citizens for Joe Smith (“Committee”), his candidate committee was filed on May 24, 2007 with the Petitioner, Missouri Ethics Commission…

…9. The following contributions have been reported as received by Committee:

7/18/07 $1000.00 Ron Richard 2008… [emphasis added]  

Well, at least he’s in the caucus. But, whoa! Talk about your timing. I seem to recall the Missouri Supreme Court doing something on July 19, 2007. Oh yes, I remember now:

“…On July 19, 2007, the Missouri Supreme Court issued its opinion in Trout v. State of Missouri, 231 S.W. 3d 140 (Mo. Bane 2007)…”

Here’s another one, again, without the boilerplate:

BEFORE THE MISSOURI ETHICS COMMISSION

MISSOURI ETHICS COMMISSION

Petitioner,

v.

JIM GUEST, Candidate

FRIENDS FOR JIM GUEST

Respondents.

No. 07A186

FINDINGS OF FACT. CONCLUSIONS OF LAW AND ORDER

…The closed hearing took place on January 24, 2008 at the offices of the Missouri Ethics Commission at 3411 A Knipp Drive, Jefferson City, Missouri 65102. The Commission was represented by Counsel. Respondent Jim Guest appeared in person,

without counsel…

FINDINGS OF FACT

…2. Jim Guest is a candidate for State Representative District 5, in the August 5, 2008 primary election. An Amended Statement of Organization for Friends for Jim Guest (“Committee”), his candidate committee, was filed on July 16, 2007 with the Petitioner, Missouri Ethics Commission…

9. The following contributions have been reported as received by Committee:

7/23/07 $1,500.00 Ron Richard 2008… [emphasis added]

Okay. He’s in the caucus, too. A big “oopsie!” on the date. One question. Why the different amounts? Did Ron like Jim more than the others? Just asking.

A big picture question. If the little fish (Dempsey, Fisher, Guest and Smith) who got the big contributions from the big fish (Richard) actually returned the money to the big fish wouldn’t the big fish have more money to give back to those over limit contributors? As it stands now, doesn’t this just become one wonderfully screwed up excuse filled inverse political Ponzi scheme?

Just asking.