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MEC dismisses complaint against Liberty Alliance

The Missouri Ethics Commission (MEC) dismissed a complaint from the Missouri Democratic Party accusing Liberty Alliance USA of acting as a political action committee (PAC).  

“We are glad the Missouri Ethics Commission completely dismissed the frivolous complaint against Liberty Alliance,” Executive Director Chris Vas said. “We want to make one thing clear to Nicole Galloway, the Missouri Democrat Party, and anybody else who tries to silence us — we will never stop fighting for conservative causes and opposing socialism, and we will continue working to limit the size and scope of government in order to protect taxpayers.”

The complaint alleged Liberty Alliance, a conservative group, failed to register with the MEC as a PAC and had not filed regular campaign financial disclosure reports with the commission as required by Missouri law. The complaint pointed to publications by Liberty Alliance as evidence that the group had accepted contributions and used funds to lobby against Auditor Nicole Galloway’s campaign for governor. 

Liberty Alliance is registered as a social welfare organization rather than a PAC under 501(c)(4) of the IRS code which covers some lobbying organizations, according to the MEC’s ruling on the case. The commission found the legal definition of a PAC did not apply to Liberty Alliance or its actions. The ruling stated the organization’s material did not fit the standards that would require campaign finance reports despite discussing Galloway in her role as auditor, and the group’s solicitations for donations designated that they would be used to promote conservative values without mentioning any specific candidates.

“I think it’s disappointing that the MEC is unwilling to address dark money groups engaging in election advocacy without disclosing their donors,” Missouri Democratic Party Executive Director Lauren Gepford told The Missouri Times. “Missouri voters have said they want transparency in their elections, and groups like Liberty Alliance are set up to bypass transparency. If the MEC won’t act then we need to change the laws, that’s why we’re fighting to elect lawmakers that will reform our campaign finance laws.”

Tuesday’s primary will determine whether Galloway gets nomination as the Democratic candidate for Missouri governor. Galloway has received endorsements from EMILY’s List, the Brady PAC, and Planned Parenthood. 

Incumbent Gov. Mike Parson has received endorsements from the Associated Industries of Missouri (AIM) PAC, Missouri Right to Life, and the Missouri Chamber of Commerce.

A recent poll saw her trailing behind Parson by nine points.