MEC fines Gardner $63K for campaign violations

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner has been fined $63,009 for an array of ethics violations dating back to her tenure as a state Representative. The Missouri Ethics Commission noted they had evidence to believe Gardner used campaign funds for personal expenses and failed to accurately, and timely, report numerous contributions and expenditures.

According to the 25-page consent order from the Missouri Ethics Commission, Gardner used campaign funds to pay a membership fee to Planet Fitness and for $2,855 in housing costs which were reimbursed by the General Assembly — she reimbursed her campaign in June 2018 for those 2015 and 2016 expenditures.

Gardner’s campaign failed to either report or accurately report more than $70,000 in expenditures between 2015 and 2017, according to the consent order. The order also details more than $15,000 in contributions not reported along with thousands more not reported accurately.

The commission also noted contributions and expenditures exceeding limits along with failure to accurately and timely report numerous filings.

Gardner will be on the hook for $6,314 of the fine, provided she pays within 45 days and has no further ethics violations within two years.

The Missouri Ethics Commission also fined a political action committee $3,000 for failing to report financial information accurately and timely.

Jefferson County Organization to Reinforce Citizens Awareness was found to have failed to timely report changes to official fund depository, failed to terminate committee upon closure of official fund depository, failed to timely and accurate file campaign finance disclosure reports and/or Limited Activity Statements.

The committee will only have to pay $300 of the fine, provided they cut a check within 45 days and have no further ethics violations within two years.