Fifth Ward candidate Mark Jones unconcerned about past ethics violation

Wednesday, January 16, 2013 | 5:01 p.m. CST; updated 3:55 p.m. CST, Monday, January 28, 2013

COLUMBIA — Fifth Ward City Council candidate Mark Jones was fined $2,500 by the Missouri Ethics Commission in 2006 for the improper use and identification of campaign contributions during the 2002 Missouri House campaign cycle.

Jones is competing against Susan "Tootie" Burns and Laura Nauser for the open council seat that will be decided Feb. 5.

Elizabeth Ziegler, general counsel for the Ethics Commission, declined comment on the case, saying commission documents speak to the facts of the matter. Jones signed a joint stipulation of facts agreement with the commission in which he admitted he did not properly disclose some campaign expenditures nor attribute accurately the origin of some campaign contributions.

"Each campaign or its supporters have had legal matters to deal with," Jones said, adding that he doesn't believe the matter will influence the election.

"It doesn't build a bridge, and it doesn't fill a pothole. I don't think it will be an issue to the voters of Ward 5."

The commission fined Jones for his role in the work of three continuing political committees: Team Missouri, on whose behalf he filed required ethics disclosures as "House Director", the Missouri House Democratic Campaign Committee, where he worked at electing a candidate to the 85th Missouri House seat; and the Council to Protect Missouri Values.

Jones was found to have known that Team Missouri and the Missouri House Democratic Campaign Committee had paid for campaign-related printing services in the name of the Council to Protect Missouri Values. The printed materials included a campaign disclaimer stating "Paid for by the Council to Protect Missouri Values."

According to the commission's conclusions of law statement that allowed the fine against Jones, Missouri statutes say that "no contribution shall be made or accepted and no expenditure be made or incurred, directly or indirectly, in a fictitious name, in the name of another person, or by or through another person in such a manner as to conceal the identity or actual source of the contribution, or the actual recipient and purpose of the expenditure."

Jones also was found to have been involved with reporting that Taxpayers in Support of Public Education had contributed $5,000 to the Council to Protect Missouri Values. The contribution actually originated from the Missouri National Education Association, where Jones now works as political director.

Jones characterized the ethics complaint and fine as a civil compliance matter that was settled years ago.

Supervising editor is Scott Swafford.

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Mark Flakne January 17, 2013 | 7:32 a.m.

We broke this story at Keep Columbia Free several days ago.

(Report Comment)
Tim Dance January 17, 2013 | 2:10 p.m.

You are just a blogger. You need to print your story on a some sort of treated wood pulp to be a newspaper journalist.

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