Former Missouri Governor Roger Wilson was sentenced to probation in federal court today for one count of misdemeanor campaign finance fraud.
Wilson pleaded guilty in April to accusations that from 2009-2010 he helped funnel $8,000 in campaign contributions to the Missouri Democratic Party.
The money came from the St. Louis Law firm Herzog Crebs, which then billed Missouri Employee’s Mutual, a state-employee compensation agency of which Wilson was president.
“I made a mistake,” Wilson said. “I acknowledged that mistake, I apologized to everyone and now I’d like to move forward and get back in my community and be as much service as I possibly can.”
Wilson was sentenced to 2 years of probation, 100 hours of community service and $10,000 in restitution and fines. He also paid a $2,000 fine to the Missouri Ethics Commission.
Also sentenced was Edward Griesedieck III, Partner at the St. Louis Law Firm Herzog Crebs. Griesedieck’s sentence was the same as Wilson’s, except he only received one year of probation and had to surrender his legal license for 18 months.
Griesedieck provided legal services to Missouri Employees Mutual. In July, 2009, he made a $5,000 contribution to the state Democratic Party at the direction of Douglas Morgan, now deceased, who was the Chairman of the Board of Directors of MEM. Griesedieck then billed the contribution to MEM on his legal bill as "cost advanced."
Without permission from the MEM board, Wilson approved the payment of Griesedieck’s legal bill, including the reimbursement of $5,000 for the political contribution. As a result, the public campaign disclosure records for the State of Missouri falsely reflected the contributions from Griesedieck’s law firm.
In December of 2009, Morgan again directed Griesedieck to make a contribution to the Missouri Democratic Party, this time for $3,000 but with the promise that he, Morgan, would personally reimburse Griesedieck for the contribution. Later, when Morgan ran into financial problems, he then directed Griesedieck to bill MEM for the contribution. However, when in-house counsel for MEM discovered in a routine review that the "cost advanced" related to a contribution to the Missouri Democratic Party, Wilson then reimbursed Griesedieck from his personal funds.
In a statement outside the courthouse, Wilson said he still plans a life of civil service, but looks forward to returning to his home in Columbia.
“I’m going to go back and work on the farm,” Wilson said. “I thank my family and all of my friends. I’m probably one of the luckiest guys in the world to have the family, friends and community that I do, that have been so steadfast through all of this. I love every one of them.”
Wilson was sworn in as governor in 2000, following the plane crash that caused the death of Mel Carnahan. He served just under three months as governor. He also served 14 years in the state senate as well as two terms as lieutenant governor.
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