State Rep. Ian Mackey violated state law by fundraising for House Democrats while in the Capitol earlier this month, a conservative group alleged in a recent complaint to the Missouri Ethics Commission (MEC).
The complaint pointed to an April 8 Facebook post on Mackey’s account that included a photo of him in an office wearing a mask. The post included an Act Blue fundraising link for the Missouri House Democrats with suggested donation amounts ranging from $5 to $500.
As the Facebook post mentioned, lawmakers were back in the capital city on April 8 to hurriedly tackle the supplemental budget.
“We’re all taking risks being here. And what do we hear? The cries, whines, and complaints about how ‘tired’ and how ‘frustrated’ the GOP supermajority is with Democrats making this political,” Mackey’s post said. “Woe, oh woe, is the damn SUPERmajority who doesn’t even need our votes to establish a quorum or pass a single piece of legislation. You want to talk about politics? I want to talk about politics. I want to talk about November 2020 [right now]. Do you?”
In its complaint to the MEC, the Liberty Alliance said the post was from Mackey’s Capitol office “while he was present on official business.” The post was made at 3:46 p.m., and the House did not adjourn until 4:45 p.m., the complaint noted.
“Representative Mackey’s blatant fundraising solicitation and act of engaging in partisan political activity from his capitol [sic] office, using state property and resources while being paid his daily House per diem, is a textbook violation of the Missouri Constitution, state statute, and House ethics rules,” the complaint, given to The Missouri Times, said.
Missouri’s constitution prohibits members of the General Assembly from political fundraising “in or on any premises, property or building owned, leased or controlled by the State of Missouri or any agency thereof.”
The complaint from Liberty Alliance — which claims its mission is “to fight for Conservative causes and promote grassroots activism in Missouri” — requests the MEC investigate the post, determine the number of contributions garnered from it, and fine Mackey up to three times that amount plus $1,000 — the punishment laid out in the constitution.
In an interview with The Missouri Times, Liberty Alliance executive director Chris Vas said “it will be interesting” how the MEC would decide the penalty given the fundraising link should it find Mackey did violate state law.
“During a time when Missouri should be coming together to defeat the coronavirus attacking our country, it is disappointing that Representative Mackey chose to violate our laws and constitution in order to politicize this crisis,” Vas said in a statement. “As a member of the House and an attorney, Representative Mackey took an oath to uphold the Constitution and laws of Missouri and is entrusted by his constituents to act in a way that maintains confidence in the institution of the House.”
Vas said the complaint has been sent to the MEC, and he expects the commission to receive it by the end of the week. A copy of the complaint was also sent to the House Ethics Committee Thursday.
Mackey did not respond to requests for comment. While the picture appears to have been taken inside the Capitol, exact details about how the post originated are unclear.
Mackey represents HD 87 in the St. Louis area. He was first elected in November 2018.
Kaitlyn Schallhorn is the editor of The Missouri Times. She joined the newspaper in early 2019 after working as a reporter for Fox News in New York City.
Throughout her career, Kaitlyn has covered political campaigns across the U.S., including the 2016 presidential election, and humanitarian aid efforts in Africa and the Middle East.
She is a native of Missouri who studied journalism at Winthrop University in South Carolina. She is also an alumna of the National Journalism Center in Washington, D.C.
Contact Kaitlyn at firstname.lastname@example.org.