St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Court: Activist’s fight with ethics panel not over (In the News)

St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Court: Activist’s fight with ethics panel not over

By Kurt Erickson

Ten months after Ron Calzone declared victory when a circuit judge blocked the Missouri Ethics Commission from requiring him to register to lobby the Legislature, a state appeals court said the original ruling was premature…

Calzone, director of a group called Missouri First, speaks to lawmakers at the Capitol, often at public hearings, but says he does not buy food or gifts for legislators. Missouri First is a group that promotes constitutional governance.

However, in 2015, a complaint was filed against him with the Missouri Ethics Commission, which decided that Calzone should have been registering as a lobbyist and would need to in the future.

In fighting that decision, Calzone won a ruling from Cole County Circuit Judge Jon Beetem that he did not have to register or pay a $1,000 fine to the MEC.

But, the appeals court found that Calzone had not exhausted his ability to appeal the MEC decision before he went to court.

The ruling said because other remedies were available, it was an “abuse of discretion” for Beetem to block the MEC from further pursuing its case against Calzone.