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Ethics Commission rescinds decision on contributions

By Marshall Griffin, KWMU

9/19/07 – The Missouri Ethics Commission has reversed its earlier decision to notify candidates who've exceeded campaign contribution limits that they may be in violation of the law.

Commissioners voted last week to send warning letters to candidates, following the State Supreme Court's recent decision to reinstate campaign contribution limits.

But commissioners made that decision after meeting behind closed doors, which prompted a lawsuit by the Missouri Republican Party, seeking to block the action.

Commissioner Michael Kilgore said the public should be allowed to comment on any actions taken.

"And so I think the best way to do that, to maintain confidence in the system, is to rescind the actions taken, and take the matter up at the next meeting," Kilgore said.

And they voted unanimously to do that while meeting by conference call late Wednesday afternoon.

Robert Hess, an attorney for the Missouri Republican State Committee, says they haven't decided yet whether to modify their suit or to drop it altogether.

"The decision to rescind their action at their Sept. 11th meeting, and take public comment at their next meeting, vindicates an important principle that we were advocating in the lawsuit...that this kind of public business should be decided in open session with an opportunity for public comment," Hess said.

The Missouri Ethics Commission is scheduled to meet again in October.

Commissioners said they would allow open discussion on how they should respond to the State Supreme Court decision reinstating campaign contribution limits.

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