Court rules on returning campaign funds
By Maria Hickey, KWMU
St. Louis, MO. – The Missouri Supreme Court handed down its opinion Monday on whether candidates will have to give back contributions that exceed reinstated limits.
But various groups are interpreting the decision differently.
Jane Dueker is one of the attorneys for James Trout, the plaintiff who sought to get the campaign contribution caps reinstated.
She says the ruling means candidates will have to return the money they got over the limits between January and June of this year.
"I do believe this decision paves the way for refunds," Dueker said. "Unless a candidate can come in with sufficient specificity and present evidence to the ethics commission that somehow this decision would present an undue hardship to them or somehow create an injustice."
But Paul Sloca, chairman of the Missouri Republican Party, says the court leaves it up to the Missouri Ethics Commission to decide.
"Now it's up to the Missouri Ethics Commission to make a decision, and we are very, very hopeful that when they decide how to interpret the Supreme Court's ruling they really take the people, the contributors, and the candidates into consideration rather than politics," Sloca said.
The Missouri Ethic's Commission filed a court brief that makes refunds seem likely.
In the brief the commission said money over the contribution limits should be returned retroactively, unless a candidate could prove undue hardship or the election had already taken place.
Calls to the Missouri Ethics Commission were not returned Monday.