Complaint filed by former staffer Glenn Campbell
ST. LOUIS – The former general consultant for Robin Smith, the Democratic nominee for secretary of state, filed an ethics complaint against the Smith campaign. Even though the Missouri Ethics Commission (MEC) dismissed the complaint late Tuesday, the consultant says it raises questions about her campaign.
Longtime political consultant Glenn Campbell and the former treasurer of the With Robin Smith in 2016 Committee, Mike Kramper, asked the Missouri Ethics Commission to ask why two companies listed as limited liability companies, better known as LLCs, owned by Smith’s husband, Isaac “Bud” Stallworth, were not reported to the MEC as required by the state’s candidate filing requirements.
Smith’s personal financial disclosure statement submitted to the MEC lists her and her husband’s respective employers, The Meredith Corporation (which owns KMOV TV) and Time Warner Metro Sports in Kansas City, Missouri. It also lists her LLCs in which she served as a receiver, director or officer: Fleur de Lis Real Estate LLC and Robin Smith LLC.
However, it did not include LLCs in which Stallworth serves a leadership role: Blue Star, LLC and IFS, LLC.
But the MEC found that those LLCs are not required by law to be reported.
“Even though, as a staff, we have recommended that over-disclosure is a good thing, there’s nowhere in the statute that requires it,” said James Klahr, the executive director of the Missouri Ethics Commission.
The MEC’s full letter detailing their decision can be found at the bottom of this story.
Roy Temple, serving in his capacity as an advisor to the Smith campaign, said the decision was expected.
“Obviously those complaints were filed people who have separated with the campaign, and Robin and the campaign are not surprised they were dismissed without merit,” he said.
Campbell also filed a separate complaint Sept. 13 regarding five donations received in the 11 days prior to the Aug. 2 primary election. The five donations, which total $4,700, were not reported within 24 hours of their receipt, though they were found in the 30 Days After Primary report filed by the With Robin Smith in 2016 Committee. The MEC has yet to rule on that complaint.
“With promises broken, as well as agreements and assurances, the below complaints are reminders that transparency and adherence to guidelines when it comes to elections and the public’s right to know are important, especially for someone running for Missouri Secretary of State,” Campbell said in a statement. “Under these circumstances, we find having taken such action with a candidate you’ve worked for difficult but necessary.”
The primary complaint comes after a dispute arose between Campbell and Smith when Campbell says Smith complained that he had not found any kind of work for her husband. Smith asked for a payment that would have left inoperable funds for the campaign. She also asked for payments for her own health insurance, which Campbell says may have been an unethical payment that resided in a legal gray area. Stallworth, a former college and NBA basketball player, did garner some funds for the campaign, Campbell noted, but not enough to justify a payment of the amount requested.
Kramper refused when, at the time of that request in Nov. 2015, it would have left the campaign’s finances too low to function at a statewide level for a major party candidate.
“Things changed when the treasurer of the campaign said he wouldn’t write a check that was going to leave the campaign without operating capital,” Campbell said in an interview with The Missouri Times. “That wasn’t the responsible thing to do. Especially since there were other vendors that weren’t being paid… That was a turning point, you feel at that moment there was a problem going forward.”
After filing in March, Campbell says that Smith sought new campaign staff instead of Campbell and Kramper. Attorney Kenneth McClain is now listed as the treasurer for Smith’s campaign. When Campbell invoiced the new campaign for services rendered, the new campaign did not pay. He says he felt that Smith took advantage of his services.
“If someone wants to go another way, that’s fine, but if you’re used, which we feel very much like we were, that’s an altogether different story,” Campbell said.
Temple denied Campbell’s accusations.
“It’s safe to assume whatever the most legitimate complaint Glenn though he had, he made to the Ethics Commission and they found him without merit,” he said. “So to debate it beyond doubt is probably not productive.
Smith won her primary with over 77 percent of the vote. She now faces Republican Jay Ashcroft in the general election.