Submitted: February 13, 2018
from United States District Court for the Western District of
Missouri - Jefferson City
LOKEN, BENTON, and ERICKSON, Circuit Judges.
BENTON, CIRCUIT JUDGE.
Klahr, in his official capacity as Executive Director of the
Missouri Ethics Commission (MEC), appeals the order of the
district court declaring unconstitutional and enjoining
enforcement of Missouri's 30-day formation deadline for
campaign committees, Missouri law section
130.011(8). See Missourians for Fiscal
Accountability v. Klahr, No. 14-4287-CV-ODS, 2017 WL
58588 (W.D. Mo. Jan. 5, 2017). Having jurisdiction under 28
U.S.C. § 1291, this court affirms.
Missouri campaign finance law, chapter 130, a
"committee" is "a person or any combination of
persons, who accepts contributions or makes expenditures for
the primary or incidental purpose of influencing or
attempting to influence the action of voters for or
against" candidates or ballot measures. §
130.011(7). Exempt are those not crossing
thresholds, such as: (1) any non-candidate individual
"who accepts no contributions and . . . deals only with
the individual's own funds or property;" and (2) any
"person or combination of persons, if neither the
aggregate of expenditures made nor the aggregate of
contributions received during a calendar year exceeds five
hundred dollars and if no single contributor has contributed
two hundred fifty dollars of such aggregate
contributions." § 130.011(7)(a).
130 distinguishes committees by the political activity they
engage in. At issue here are "campaign committees":
a committee, other than a candidate committee, which shall be
formed by an individual or group of individuals to receive
contributions or make expenditures and whose sole purpose is
to support or oppose the qualification and passage of one or
more particular ballot measures in an election . . ., such
committee shall be formed no later than thirty days prior to
the election for which the committee receives contributions
or makes expenditures, and which shall terminate the later of
either thirty days after the general election or upon the
satisfaction of all committee debt after the general election
. . . .
must have a treasurer, maintain an "official depository
account, " and keep accurate recor d s.
Committees "shall file a statement of organization . . .
within twenty days after the person or organization becomes a
committee but no later than the date for filing the first
[disclosure] report . . . ." §
130.021.5. The statement includes, among other
things, the committee's name and address, the kind of
committee, and the candidate or ballot measure supported or
must file "disclosure report[s] of receipts and
expenditures." § 130.041.1.
Disclosure reports are due: (1) "Not later than the
eighth day before an election for the period closing on the
twelfth day before the election if the committee has made any
contribution or expenditure either in support or opposition
to any candidate or ballot measure;" (2) "Not later
than the thirtieth day after an election for a period closing
on the twenty-fifth day after the election, if the committee
has made any contribution or expenditure either in support of
or opposition to any candidate or ballot measure . . .;"
and (3) "Not later than the fifteenth day following the
close of each calendar quarter." §
130.046.1. The Missouri Ethics Commission (MEC)
makes statements of organization and disclosure reports
available to the public on its website in accordance with
person who purposely violates the provisions of [chapter 130]
is guilty of a class A misdemeanor." §
130.081.1. However, failure "to file any report
or statement . . . within the time periods specified in
[chapter 130]" is "an infraction."
§ 130.081.2. See
§ 556.021.2 ("An infraction does
not constitute a crime . . . ."). "Any person who
knowingly accepts or makes a contribution or makes an
expenditure in violation of any provision of this chapter . .
. shall be held liable to the state in civil penalties in an
amount equal to any such contribution or expenditure."
may file complaints with the MEC alleging chapter 130
violations. § 105.957.1(3). "When
the commission concludes . . . that there are reasonable
grounds to believe that a violation of any criminal law has
occurred, and if the commission believes that criminal
prosecution would be appropriate . . . the commission shall
refer the report" for criminal prosecution.
§ 105.961.2. The MEC may also
"initiate formal judicial proceedings seeking to
obtain" an order to "[c]ease and desist violation
of . . . chapter 130" or "[p]ay any civil penalties
required by . . . chapter 130." §
105.961.5. Finally, the MEC has, "[t]hrough
reconciliation agreements or civil action, the power to ...