Missouri Ethics Commission

SB 70

Sponsored by Senator Munzlinger (R), District 18
Pre-filed 12-11-2012
Text Unchanged, Not Amended
1/29/2013 Hearing Conducted S Rules, Joint Rules, Resolutions and Ethics Committee

Modifies MEC procedure
This act modifies the operations and procedures of the Missouri Ethics Commission (the Commission).

Currently, Commission filings are deemed timely filed if postmarked not later than midnight of the day previous to the last day of the filing deadline. Under the act, such filings are timely filed if postmarked not later than midnight of the deadline date.

Currently, the Director of the Commission shall not serve for more than 6 years. This act repeals that limit.

All committees that are required to file financial disclosure reports with the Commission are required to file in an electronic format.

Currently, conflicting requirements exist that require the Commission to dismiss a complaint if they find no probable cause but allows the Commission to investigate when there is are reasonable grounds to investigate. The act repeals the provisions requiring the Commission to dismiss when there is no probable cause.

Currently, the executive director is required to review reports and statements that are required to be filed with the Commission. This act allows the executive director to also examine records relating to those reports and statements.

Currently, redundant language exists in Sections 105.951 and 105.961 relating to the ability of the Commission to investigate complaints. The act repeals the references in Section 105.951.

Currently, within 120 days of receipt of a complaint, the special investigator submits a report to the commission. This act changes that threshold to 90 days.

Determinations that violations have occurred, other than referrals for criminal prosecution, may be appealed de novo to the Circuit Court of Cole County.

Confidentiality provisions in Section 105.961 that conflict with provisions in Section 105.959 are repealed.

The act allows the executive director to send notices of failure to file by mail and any other means instead of only by registered mail. Evidence that notices were properly addressed and sent by mail or electronic mail to the address designated by the committee creates a rebuttable presumption the notice was received.

The act allows the Commission to collect late filing fees by filing a certified statement of account with the Cole County Circuit Court. Unpaid fees may be collected through garnishment and execution against the committee’s official depository account. Lobbyists required to file expenditure reports, individuals required to file financial disclosure reports, and candidates and committees required to file disclosure statements may appeal late fee assessments in the same manner with the commission.

The act removes a provision allowing extra time for investigations when they are assigned to a retired judge and a provision allowing the commission to file a petition to seek extra time.

This act is similar to CCS#3/HCS#2/SB 844 (2010).

HB 250

Sponsored by Caleb Jones (R), District 50
1/22/2013 H 162 Introduced and Read First Time (H)
1/23/2013 H 167 Read Second Time (H)

This bill changes the laws regarding the regulation and practices of the Missouri Ethics Commission. In its main provisions the bill:

(1) Changes the filing deadline for commission filings under sections 105.483 to 105.492, RSMo, from a postmark not later than midnight of the day previous to the last day of the filing deadline to a postmark not later than midnight of the deadline date (105.487);

(2) Requires campaign finance disclosure reports to be filed in an electronic format as prescribed by the commission (105.955); (3) Requires copies of ethics complaints to be given to the alleged violator within five days after their receipt by the commission. The bill repeals the provisions allowing the commission to dismiss a complaint for lack of probable cause (105.957);

(4) Requires the executive director to review any records related to the reports or statements that are required to be filed with the commission. If there are reasonable grounds to believe that a violation has occurred, an audit of the records must be conducted and a special investigator assigned (105.959);

(5) Changes from 120 days to 90 days the time a special investigator has to file a report with the commission after receipt of a complaint. If additional time is necessary to complete the investigation, the commission may allow the complaint investigation to proceed for additional successive periods of 90 days (105.961);

(6) Allows the determinations made by the commission that violations have occurred, other than referrals for criminal prosecution, to be appealed de novo in the circuit court of Cole County (105.961);

(7) Allows the executive director to send notices of failure to file by regular mail and other means instead of using registered mail. The commission is allowed to collect late filing fees by filing a certified statement of account in the circuit court of Cole County which will have the same effect as a judgment of the court. The commission or any entity contracted by the commission may collect the judgment in any manner authorized by law, including garnishment and execution to retrieve money from a committee’s official depository account. Lobbyists required to file an expenditure report, individuals required to file a financial statement, and a candidate or treasurer of a committee required to file a disclosure statement may appeal the assessment of a late filing fee with the commission (105.963);

(8) Repeals the provisions that allow extra time for an investigation when they are assigned to a retired judge and allow the commission to seek extra time to complete an investigation (105.966); and

(9) Repeals the provisions found in SB 844 as enacted by the ninety-fifth general assembly second regular session that were struck down as unconstitutional by the Missouri Supreme Court so that all changes to the law apply only to currently enforceable statutes.