Monday, September 17, 2007

Missouri G.O.P. Challenges Ethics Commission Ruling With Lawsuit

The Missouri Republican Party and Rep. Shane Schoeller today filed a lawsuit against the Missouri Ethics Commission over a decision that could force candidates to return thousands of dollars in campaign contributions received over pre-existing limits.

The suit, filed by the Missouri G.O.P., and Rep. Shane Schoeller in Cole County, accuses the Commission of violating the Sunshine Law on September 11 by holding a closed meeting to discuss the campaign finance issue.

The G.O.P. claims a Commission agenda stated the matter would be discussed in an open meeting and says the meeting was closed "without valid legal reasons." The lawsuit also alleges the commission and commissioners “knowingly” and “purposely” violated the Sunshine Law by discussing policy matters which should have been discussed openly with the public having an opportunity to comment.

The Missouri Republican Party is seeking a temporary restraining order followed by preliminary and permanent injunctions prohibiting the Ethics Commission from implementing any decision made in connection with the meeting.

“The Missouri Ethics Commission blatantly violated the Sunshine Law by meeting in secret and denying Missourians their right to be informed about a significant public policy decision that affects the lives of thousands of contributors and candidates,” said Jared Craighead, executive director of the Missouri Republican Party.

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