Ethics complaint filed against Roberts’ Senate campaign

  

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Harry Roberts’ campaign for the Missouri Senate’s District 34 seat could be facing an investigation from the Missouri Ethics Commission following the filing of a complaint in late October.

The complaint centers around Missouri’s new campaign contribution laws, known as Amendment 2, which took effect in Dec. 2016.

The complaint alleges that Roberts’ state senate committee took “illegal corporate money,” a violation of the new law.

“Despite this clear mandate, Harry Roberts and his candidate committee have elected to disregard the will of the people,” the complaint reads.

According to the complaint, the issue lies with a campaign contribution in the amount of $2,500 from a St. Joseph business, Biozyme. That donation was given to the candidate committee “Friends of Harry Roberts”, which was set up as a county committee to support a run for a county office.

On August 22, 2017, that committee was terminated, and all of the funds in that county committee were transferred to a new state committee with the same name.

The complainant argues that there are two violations: the first being the acceptance of a corporate contribution, and the second being a transfer of the corporate funds from the county committee to the state committee.

“Even if it is presumed that corporate contributions to county office candidate committees are permissible under Amendment 2, and therefore, the original corporate contribution to the County Committee was valid, there can be no question the transfer to the State Committee violates Amendment 2,” the complaint reads.

The document finishes by calling for the sanctioning of the committee by the Missouri Ethics Commission to the fullest extent of the law, and at the very least the refund of the $2,500.

The Roberts campaign did not return requests for comment.

Benjamin Peters is a reporter for the Missouri Times and Missouri Times Magazine, and also produces the #MoLeg Podcast. He joined the Missouri Times in 2016 after working as a sports editor and TV news producer in mid-Missouri. Benjamin is a graduate of Missouri State University in Springfield. To contact Benjamin, email benjamin@themissouritimes.com or follow him on Twitter @BenjaminDPeters.