SB 227 - This act charges the Attorney General with administering and enforcing ethics laws and imposes campaign contribution limits.
This act moves the Ethics Commission into the newly formed Division of Ethics within the Office of the Attorney General in order to perform the current duties of the Ethics Commission.
Certain current restrictions on a Commission member's political involvement are similarly imposed upon employees of the new Division.
Non-criminal complaints against the Attorney General and employees of the Office of the Attorney General are automatically referred to a retired appellate or circuit court judge, outside of the Division, acting as a special investigator. If the investigator concludes that there are reasonable grounds to find a non-criminal ethics violation, the investigator shall file a petition with the Administrative Hearing Commission. Criminal complaints against such individuals are automatically referred to the Missouri Office of Prosecution Services.
All other complaints that do not involve the Attorney General or employees of the Office of the Attorney General are handled by special investigators within the Office of the Attorney General in the same way that they are handled by the Ethics Commission under current law.
The act specifies that the Commission may not subpoena subjects of an investigation.
The Attorney General shall represent the Division in all administrative actions and in circuit court.
The act imposes contribution limits for individuals and committees in support of candidates running for public office. Surcharges will be imposed upon committees that accept or give contributions exceeding the limits.
The limits are as follows for contributions made by or accepted from any person other than the candidate and all committees:
• $10,000 for Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State, Treasurer, Auditor, or Attorney General.
• $5,000 for Senators.
• $2,000 for Representatives.
• $2,000 for any other office, including judicial office.
This act is similar to HB 633 (2009), HB 687 (2009), SB 389 (2009), SB 270 (2009), SB 648 (2010),SB 546 (2012), SB 825 (2012), SB 92 (2013).