JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Circuit Judge Jon Beetem ruled in favor of activist Ron Calzone late last month, stating that he will not have to register as a lobbyist.
The Missouri Ethics Commission filed a complaint against him over a year ago. They argued that his activities in the Capitol, speaking to legislators and advocating for his organization Missouri First constituted lobbying. The MEC requested Calzone file as a lobbyist and pay a fine of $1,000.
Calzone argued that because he did not buy meals or gifts of any kind for legislators and was not compensated for his work in the Capitol, which meant he was a citizen advocate.
Beetem filed the judgment making the writ of prohibition permanent Sept. 23. He did not enter into the argument of whether or not Calzone was a lobbyist but focused on how the complaint came about.
“Because the complaint filed with the Missouri Ethics Commission was not filed by a natural person, but by an entity by its agent… all actions taken on the complaint are and were void,” Beetem ruled.
Calzone had fought against the decision and supporters of his* formed multiple protests in the Capitol last session to dispute the decision.
UPDATE – 10:54 a.m., Oct. 6: Calzone has claimed he did not prompt the protests himself.