Missouri House member pays ethics debts; takes office

Wednesday, February 9, 2011 | 1:44 p.m. CST; updated 7:21 p.m. CST, Wednesday, February 9, 2011

JEFFERSON CITY — A Missouri House member was sworn into office after paying off ethics fees and fines.

Democratic House member Leonard "Jonas" Hughes IV took office Wednesday. He said he is glad to be back and looking forward to the session.

Hughes could not take office in January because he owed $19,090 to the Missouri Ethics Commission. A law that took effect in August bars election winners from taking office if they have not paid fees levied by the commission.

Hughes paid $18,830.23 on Tuesday and $259.77 on Wednesday. He was first elected in 2004 and won re-election without opposition in November.

The debt involved fees on campaign and personal finance reports dating back to 2006 and a $13,000 fine levied in 2008 for misreporting and misuse of campaign contributions.

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