JeffCo Tea Party Cited for Election Finance Violation

27 May

It looks like the Jefferson County Tea Party (JCTP) committed some election finance infractions over the past three years, as charged by the Missouri Ethics Commission (MEC). These infractions involved failing to file expenditure reports after purchasing newspaper ads naming candidates for office shortly before election dates. The group also improperly stated the “paid for by” disclaimers on these ads. Tea Party founder and former head Ken Horton was named on this citation. This is because some of the infractions took place before the JCTP was registered as a committee and a non-profit organization. It looks like one of the three cited advertisements was published after he left the group to run for county treasurer.

The penalty levied for these violations was a fine of $3,700, although if $460 is paid within 45 days, and the group stays clean for two years, the rest of the fine will be waived.

Recall that the JCTP started up in 2010. The first infraction occurred that October. I ascribe these violations to inexperience with election reporting requirements. That does not excuse them, though, since you need to know the requirements if you are going to participate in politics. Also, these infractions continued into 2012.

MEC violations happen locally with some frequency (search for them here). Recent violators include Ron Counts (failure to file financial disclosure), Phil Amato (improper declaration of donations), and some guy named Brian Smith from something called the Conservative Coalition of Jefferson County (failure to file committee organization and expenditure reports)

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