JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – More than eight months have passed since Missouri voters elected to put in new laws regarding campaign contributions in the Show-Me State, which has already proven to be easier said than done.
As each month has ticked by, the decisions on just what the new law does, and how it is enforced has been argued and tested.
And a recent ruling by the commission has cleared up more of the campaign finance provisions of the law in an area that has been heavily scrutinized: political action committees.
Recently, Tom Robbins put four questions to the commission in regard to the law and how it works with PACs and corporations, and the commission’s response shows that under the state law, a corporation may receive unlimited contributions.
“Is a PAC not connected to an organization when its monetary contributions are from a corporation’s general treasury, not a corporation’s officers, employees, spouses, et. al.?” Robbins asked the MEC.
According to the MEC, the law provides limitations on corporate and labor organization contributions to certain committees and specifically allows them to establish and contribute to PACs and continuing committees.
After reviewing the laws, the MEC stated that a corporation that is not connected to a PAC may make unlimited contributions to a PAC. They also said that assuming the corporation doesn’t establish the PAC and doesn’t serve as a connected organization, it can make unlimited monetary contributions from the corporate treasury.
So how does one define a corporation as not connected? The MEC’s responses say that as long as the corporation doesn’t maintain the PAC, solicit funds for it, and only contributes corporate treasury funds, it is not a connected organization, and may receive unlimited contributions.
But if an individual contributes to the PAC, monetary or in-kind, those contributions must not exceed 49 percent of the PAC’s total receipts, otherwise it will become a PAC connected to such individual’s employer and, thus, cannot receive corporate general treasury funds.