JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – A legal challenge of Missouri’s new campaign finance laws by the state’s largest business organization has been stopped in its tracks.
In a ruling issued last week, by Cole County Circuit Judge Patricia Joyce ruled against the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s lawsuit over whether businesses could fund their own political action committees.
Back in September 2017, the Chamber filed a lawsuit arguing language stemming from Amendment 2, which was passed by voters in 2016 with 70 percent of the vote.
In addition to imposing capping contributions at $2,600 per election, the new law put limits on what kinds of companies can donate money in Missouri.
The Chamber said that the position held by the Missouri Ethics Commission put businesses is a strange situation in which they could set up PACs but were barred from putting any money in them.
The advisory opinion issued by the MEC would allow businesses to donate money to other PACs, but not their own.
And the ruling by Judge Joyce means that businesses will still be unable to contribute to their own PACs.
“We feel the judge ruled incorrectly in this case. This decision prolongs a confusing situation for employers across Missouri that want to be engaged in the political process. We are left with regulations that give an employer the ability to establish a political action committee but then forbid the company from placing funds into it,” said Daniel P. Mehan, Missouri Chamber president and CEO. “We are reviewing all our options as we move forward to ensure Missouri businesses have clear, commonsense ethics standards to follow.”
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 email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @BenjaminDPeters.