JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – A recent decision by the Missouri Ethics Commission has vindicated Republican mega-donor David Humphreys from what conservatives are calling an attack by a Washington-based “dark money outfit.”
In a Thursday decision by the MEC, the commission dismissed the case against Humphreys, whom the liberal activist group known as Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) and the Campaign for Accountability have been pushing alongside Democratic state lawmaker to levy fines against Humphreys.
“This frivolous filing was a thinly masked attempt to shut down not just David Humphreys, but any and all donors who dare use their First Amendment political speech rights which include giving money to various causes and candidates,” former House Speaker Carl Bearden said. “Now we see the left and some on the right who want to take these attacks even further. Missourians should be very upset about these attacks on our First Amendment freedoms!”
Ellebracht had filed a complaint against the Joplin roofing company millionaire for employing a lobbyist who was not registered with the Missouri Ethics Commission, the state ethics regulatory body.
The lobbyist in question, Paul Mouton, admitted that he worked for Humphreys, and as Mouton used a parking space in the Capitol garage 32 times, Ellebracht said Humphreys should be fined the maximum $10,000 for each individual time Mouton used that space, totaling $320,000.
“Mr. Humphreys is a man of conviction that is an active participant in our Democracy. He is generous to his community and to the causes he supports. I’m glad the Ethics Commission has decided not to pursue this witch hunt,” Kay Hoflander stated.
Both have been critical of the relationship between Senate President Pro Tem Ron Richard and Humphreys following Richard’s sponsoring of legislation that could potentially benefit TAMKO, Humphrey’s company, calling it an example of pay-to-play politics.
However, the Missouri Ethics Commission this week dismissed that case, stating in a letter to Humphreys that “While Mr. Mouton did spend time at the Capitol to keep you up-to-date on the legislative developments regarding particular legislation, there is insufficient evidence that you knew that you were employing a person who was required to register as a registered lobbyist under section 105.473.7, RSMo.”
“From its review of the facts, the Commission finds no reasonable grounds exist to support a violation of Chapter 105, RSMo and is dismissing the complaint.”
In the 2016 cycle, Humphreys and his relatives contributed millions to Republican candidates and causes, and several conservative voices call an attack on Humphreys and First Amendment rights.
“I’ve never met David Humphreys and I’ve never received a contribution from him to my past campaigns – but this entire episode wreaks of a sour grapes mentality and bitter, partisan politics that so many have grown so tired of… we have bigger issues to deal with here in Missouri,” Sen. Denny Hoskins said.
Benjamin Peters was a reporter for The Missouri Times and Missouri Times Magazine and also produced 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.