JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — The Missouri Ethics Commission ordered the Missouri House Democratic Campaign Committee to pay $10,0000 today, having found the facts of a December 5, 2013 complaint to be true.
The complaint, filed by Butler County Republican Party Chairman Eddy Justice, cited an accounting discrepancy regarding several bad checks that the committee wrote to one vendor — Mad Dog Mail of Fernandina Beach, FL. The complaint cites $61,000 issued in bad checks and another $126,000 in debt to individual vendors by the HDCC.
Today’s stipulation includes counts of failure to timely and accurately report expenditures and in-kind contributions and failure to file a statement of committee organization designating a deputy treasurer to be found true by the MEC.
Mad Dog Mail sent a letter to the HDCC in June of 2013 saying that they would be pressing charges for outstanding balance that was included in the complaint highlighting the issue of inaccurate reporting by the committee.
The June 2013 letter sent to the MHDCC not only listed the outstanding balance due to bad checks, but went on to examine the committees finances. The letter was included with Justice’s complaint.
“As if bouncing checks and owing so much money wasn’t bad enough, an analysis of reports filed by you with the Missouri Ethics Commissions reveals that you have had the financial ability to pay my client what is due, but have willfully failed to do so. Moreover, you have claimed in some instances to making a payment to my client with checks that actually bounced and that misrepresentation was never corrected in the public record.”
“Among the improper reporting to the Commission, which totals some $900,000 in false reports, is the fact that the MHDCC reported over $267,000 in payments to Mad Dog Mail between September and October 2012,” the letter continued. “Actual payments attempted were approximately $150,000; less two reported payments were actually bounced checks totaling over $46,000. Two additional bad checks were issued, totaling $15,000, that were simply not reported at all. The Missouri Democratic State Committee has been even more brazen in its false reporting. It reported some $663,000 in payments to Mad Dog Mail between September and November 2012. In reality, only approximately $45,000 in payments were made. Obviously, the potential adverse impact on Mad Dog Mail from this false reporting, including potential complication with taxing authorities, could be severe and costly to address.”
The complaint also includes the legal petition filed in Florida by Mad Dog Mail against the Missouri Democratic Party, Missouri Democratic State Committee, Missouri House Democratic Caucus, and Missouri House Democratic Campaign Committee for damages.
The consent was signed for HDCC by former HDCC executive director Jody Murphy, former treasurer Cyrus Dashaki, and HDCC attorney Brad Ketcher. Rep. Jacob Hummel and Rep. Gail McCann Beatty were not listed as respondents for the political entity, though they were listed in the December complaint.
HDCC personnel could not be immediately reached for comment, but The Missouri Times will continue to follow the story as it develops.
Rachael Herndon was the editor at The Missouri Times and also produced This Week in Missouri Politics, published Missouri Times Magazine, and co-hosted the #MoLeg podcast. She joined The Missouri Times in 2014, returning to political reporting after working as a campaign and legislative staffer.
Rachael studied at the University of Missouri – Columbia. She lives in Jefferson City with her husband, Brandon, and their two children.