28 candidates seeking exemptions from campaign refunds

Tuesday, January 15, 2008 | 2:34 p.m. CST; updated 2:58 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 15, 2008

JEFFERSON CITY — A lawsuit reveals that 28 candidates are seeking exceptions from refunding money received in excess of Missouri’s campaign contribution limits.

A Cole County judge says he could rule by Friday on whether the Missouri Ethics Commission can hold secret hearings for those candidates or must open them to the public.

The lawsuit by Democratic Attorney General candidate Margaret Donnelly claims the hearings must be open under the Missouri Sunshine Law. But the Ethics Commission says the open-meetings law has an exception for its procedures.

Last summer, the Missouri Supreme Court reinstated contribution limits that had been lifted in January 2007. The court left it to the Ethics Commission to determine whether individual candidates can be granted an exception from returning contributions above the limits.

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