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Missouri Ethics Commission votes to require return of over-the-limit campaign contributions

By Marshall Griffin, KWMU

Jefferson City, MO – The Missouri Ethics Commission voted Thursday to require candidates who received over-the-limit campaign contributions to either return them or show just cause for keeping them.

The Ethics Commission will investigate 160 election campaigns that took in more money than the legally restored limits allow.

Those campaigns will also be given a chance to prove that paying back the contributions would constitute a financial hardship.

But Executive Director Bob Connor says there's no clear-cut definition of what a hardship is.

"(Be)cause you can't throw everybody into the same boat...you have a reason that's a hardship, David has another reason that's a hardship, so they're not the same, so you have to consider each one on its own merits," Connor said.

Meetings for individual candidates and campaigns will be closed to the public, and the dates of those meetings are kept confidential by law.

"But that does not stop, quite frankly, (the media) from calling somebody and asking them, or letting them make their own statement," Connor said.

Governor Matt Blunt may take the hardest hit. His re-election campaign has received over $4 million in contributions that exceed the restored limits.

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