Missouri Ethics Laws
1:55 pm
Thu March 31, 2011

Mo. ethics law found unconstitutional by judge

Updated 2:43 p.m. March 31, 2011 with information that state attorney general's office will appeal the ruling.

A state judge has struck down a Missouri law that imposed new ethics and campaign finance requirements.

But the state attorney general's office said it will appeal Thursday's decision by Cole County Circuit Judge Dan Green and urged people to continue following the ethics law in the meantime.

At issue is a law that restricts the shuffling of money among political committees and requires quicker reporting of many campaign contributions during the legislative session. Other provisions create new crimes related to bribery, obstruction of ethics investigations and lobbyist reporting of expenses on behalf
of public officials.

The judge said the law violates the state constitution's requirement to contain a single subject. He also said a ban on donations by state-chartered banks to political action committees violates free speech rights.

Original Story:

A state judge has struck down a Missouri law that imposed new ethics and campaign finance requirements.

Cole County Circuit Judge Dan Green ruled Thursday that the law was unconstitutional because the legislation creating it addressed more subjects than conveyed by its title, which simply said that it related to ethics.

The judge's ruling strikes down provisions requiring quicker reporting of many campaign contributions during the legislative session. Other measures now invalidated limited the shuffling of money between political committees and created new crimes for lobbyists who did not properly report how much they spend on state officials.

The judge also said a prohibition on donations by state-chartered banks to political action committees violated free speech rights.

Missouri legislators passed the ethics law last year.

Tags: