Jefferson City News Tribune: ‘Citizen lobbyist’ asks Hearing Commission to block Ethics Commission fine (In the News)

Bob Watson

In a Sept. 10 news release, the national Center for Competitive Politics and the Freedom Center of Missouri said the commission’s ruling “puts Missouri citizens at risk of fines and criminal prosecution when they speak with lawmakers about public policy. Under that preliminary order, individuals need not be paid by an organization before they can be forced to register as a lobbyist with the state — it is enough to simply mention an organizational affiliation.”

…“The Commission’s Complaint contained no evidence of a decision by Missouri First, through its Board of Directors or otherwise, designating any person as a legislative lobbyist,” Mexico lawyer Dave Roland, for the Freedom Center, and Allen Dickerson of Alexandria, Virginia, for the national group, wrote in the suit filed with the Administrative Hearing Commission.

In that suit, Calzone argued he does not meet the state law definition of a legislative lobbyist because he falls under its exception that a “legislative lobbyist shall not include any … person solely due to such person’s participation in any of the following activities … Testifying as a witness before the general assembly or any committee thereof.”

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The Center for Competitive Politics is now the Institute for Free Speech.