MEC issues two advisory opinions, dismisses complaint against Nasheed

  

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Materials such as books, studies, and reports are not expenditures and therefore not prohibited under the executive branch gift ban, according to the Missouri Ethics Commission.

The advisory opinion was among two handed down on February 22, 2019.

The question of what constitutes an expenditure and gift to executive branch employees started with an executive order issued at the beginning of 2017. The executive order banned all gifts, defining a gift as “anything of value.” Based on that definition, the Missouri Ethics Commission determined that books, studies, and reports fell under that definition.

Gov. Mike Parson issued an executive order in November 2018 clarifying the definition of gifts.

“In light of the clarification of the meaning of the term ‘gift,’ as provided in Executive Order 18-10, it appears that these publications would not fall within the definition of gift because they are ‘informational material[s] such as books, reports, pamphlets, calendars or periodicals informing a public official regarding such person’s official duties,’” the Missouri Ethics Commission stated in the advisory opinion.

The other advisory opinion stated that Missouri statute expressly prohibits an incorporated association from requiring its members to make mandatory contributions to a connected continuing committee or political action committee.

Missouri Ethics Commission in recent weeks also dismissed a complaint Sen. Jamilah Nasheed.

“From the facts present, the Commission found no reasonable grounds existed to support a violation of [Missouri statute],” stated the dismissal letter.

The complaint had alleged the both Nasheed’s campaign committee for statewide office and President of the St. Louis Board of Alderman were contributing to the same campaign.

According to the dismissal letter, both committees provided documentation that confirm no expenditures reported by Friends of Jamilah Nasheed were expenditures for Citizens to Elect Jamilah Nasheed.