In rare move, Missouri Ethics Commission referred case against Democrat Rep. Mackey to local prosecutor

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – In April of last year, a complaint against Rep. Ian Mackey was filed to the Missouri Ethics Commission alleging that he violated state law by attempting to fundraise money for his campaign while inside the Missouri Capitol.

The complaint referred to Mackey’s April 8, 2020 Facebook post that allegedly showed him in his official office before the House had adjourned for the day. The post included an Act Blue campaign fundraising link for Missouri House Democrats, therefore seemingly attempting to raise campaign funds while on taxpayer-funded property.

“On April 8, 2020 at 3:46 PM, State Representative Ian Mackey, D-St. Louis County, purposefully violated the Missouri Constitution and state law when he fundraised from his state capitol office, a blatant flouting of the “Clean Missouri” amendment he publicly supported,” the complaint read. “This is believed to be the first documented violation of Clean Missouri’s ban on Capitol fundraising.”

The Missouri Constitution prohibits political fundraising by any member or candidate on “any premises, property or building owned, leased or controlled by the State of Missouri.”

A few months later in July 2020, the MEC “found reasonable grounds to believe that a violation of criminal law had occurred as alleged in the complaint” and referred the case to the Cole County Prosecutor. Eventually, the case was presented to a Grand Jury and it was announced on Wednesday that they chose not to indict the representative. 

“It is the decision of the office that upon a full and fair presentation of the evidence, it is unlikely twelve jurors could be persuaded beyond a reasonable doubt upon the guilt of Mr. Mackey,” said Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Scott Fox in a May 4 letter to the MEC. 

The organization that originally filed the complaint, Liberty Alliance USA, released a statement yesterday regarding the final conclusion of the case.

“It is a sad day for the rule-of-law,” Liberty Alliance Executive Director Chris Vas said in the statement. “Nobody is denying that Representative Mackey illegally fundraised on taxpayer-funded property, and it is a complete miscarriage of justice that he is not facing punishment for his crime. We applaud the diligent work of the MEC and the Cole County Prosecutor, and we will continue fighting to protect Missourians from politicians who choose to waste and abuse their tax dollars.”

In recent years, ethical reforms have been top of mind for Missourians. In 2018, the “Clean Missouri” initiative was passed by voters in an attempt to tighten up restrictions on campaign finance laws and lobbyist contributions, among other provisions. In 2020, Missouri voters doubled down and passed Amendment 3, which strengthened those ethical reforms.

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