MEC rules pro bono legal work doesn’t count as contribution

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — The complaint against U.S. Senate candidate Josh Hawley over pro bono legal services he received in 2016 has been dismissed by the Missouri Ethics Commission.

Jane Dueker, a St. Louis attorney, filed the complaint in March over his failure to disclose the free legal services from a Washington D.C.-based law firm. She alleged that Hawley should have been required to report the free services as a gift or an in-kind donation to the 2016 attorney general campaign.

The law firm Cooper & Kirk provided legal assistance when Hawley was sued under Missouri’s Sunshine Law for emails and documents relating to his time as a professor at the University of Missouri. The open records case was dismissed.

The Missouri Ethics Commission ruled that since the work was not directly related to Hawley’s campaign, so it didn’t count as an in-kind contribution. The complaint was dismissed.

In the ruling, the commission reaffirmed  that pro bono legal work doesn’t count as a gift.

Read the full ruling here.

Alisha Shurr is a reporter for the Missouri Times and Missouri Times Magazine. She joined the Missouri Times in January 2018 after working as a copy editor for her hometown newspaper in Southern Oregon. Alisha is a graduate of Kansas State University. Contact Alisha at alisha@themissouritimes.com.