In the News

St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Missouri taxpayers stuck with big legal bill in campaign finance case

Thursday, December 13, 2018

JEFFERSON CITY • Missouri taxpayers shelled out more than $158,000 in October to a Texas law firm that successfully fought a state campaign finance law designed to shine light on election spending.

According to the latest report outlining state legal expenses, the settlement was paid to the Gober Group following the success of its lawsuit to strike down a requirement that certain campaign committees be formed no later than 30 days before an election.

The Missouri Ethics Commission had sought to enforce the law during the 2014 election, arguing that the committee known as Missourians for Fiscal Accountability registered with less than two weeks before voters went to the polls to vote on a ballot initiative designed to strip then-Gov. Jay Nixon of power.

The 30-day deadline, the ethics commission argued, makes it easier for voters to track who is spending money in support and opposition to ballot initiatives.

A federal district court and a federal appeals court found that the state’s “blackout period” is an unconstitutional prior restraint on political speech in violation of the First Amendment.

For now, the statute is not in effect.

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Link to full article here.