A ruling from the state’s Western District Court of Appeals continues a confusing situation for Missouri businesses — they can set up their own political action committees, but cannot fund them.
The situation stems from a constitutional amendment passed by voters in 2016. The Missouri Ethics Commission subsequently released an opinion that interpreted the language in the amendment as banning businesses from giving to their own PACs. Failing to comply could lead to sanctions from the ethics commission as well as financial and criminal penalties.
The Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry challenged this opinion and the case went to trial in March of 2018. The Missouri Chamber later appealed the decision in that case, which led to this decision by the Western District Court of Appeals.
“Businesses have every right to participate in our state’s political process. But to do so, they need clear, rational rules to follow — they don’t have this in Missouri right now,” said Daniel P. Mehan, president and CEO of the Missouri Chamber. “This ruling is a step backward in our state and shields this set of needlessly confusing regulations. We will continue to explore all our options to ensure business advocates are not uniquely hindered in their work to support positive political change.”