A failed Democrat candidate for the state House has been fined $1,000 by the Missouri Ethics Commission for accepting a campaign contribution from a completely fictitious source.
Nodaway County far-left activist Jessica “Jess” Piper lost the 2022 election for House District 1, earning less than 25% of the vote.
According to a Jan. 4 order by the Missouri Ethics Commission (MEC), Piper did not contest the charge that her Piper for Missouri committee accepted a $30 donation from a computer in Massachusetts on Oct. 13, 2021. The contribution, which was funneled through the ActBlue Democrat political action committee, was attributed to an “Allen Andrews” said to be a Missouri politician.
That so happens to be the name of the term-limited incumbent Republican representative for the district at the time. In short, the donation was made to appear as if it came from Piper’s GOP opponent’s predecessor – which it did not, according to the MEC.
Piper for Missouri knew, in fact, that she was running to succeed Andrews, the MEC notes.
In addition, Piper for Missouri’s campaign report listed the donation as coming from 1 White House Circle, Jefferson City, MO 65109, which the MEC said is a fake address.
“The donation through the Act Blue platform originated from an IP address registered in Massachusetts, which is assigned to an address and individual who shares no biographical information” with Andrews, the MEC wrote in its order.
According to the order, MEC staff “contacted the individual suspected of making the contribution, and the contributor admitted to using the name Allen Andrews. The contributor’s name was not Allen Andrews.”
The MEC is requiring Piper for Missouri to pay the $1,000 fine within 60 days from its order’s Jan. 4 date, but half will be forgiven if it’s paid within 45 days and the campaign commits no other violations over the next two years.
A donation by a fictitious contributor violates both the Missouri Constitution and state law.
“No contribution shall be made or accepted, 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 of the actual source of the contribution or the actual recipient,” the state constitution reads.
Piper for Missouri must also turn over the offending $30 donation to the state, the order says.
Contacted by The Heartlander, Piper initially answered questions about the MEC order, but later in the interview oddly would not acknowledge its existence.
Piper said she has no idea why a person in Massachusetts she doesn’t even know – Piper referred to the contributor as a “she” – would donate to her campaign and put someone else’s name on it.
Asked why a donation purportedly from a Republican incumbent wouldn’t be flagged as suspicious by her campaign, Piper said it was a numbers problem.
“Well, because there were 780 donations during that time period and we just missed it,” she said. “We have an alert that would go off if the donation was over $50, and we should have put it at $25 because that’s the allowable amount.
“Honestly, we looked through all of those things. But, oversight. In the original part of my campaign, I was able to flag everybody because I wrote them a handwritten thank-you note. And then after we started getting thousands of donations I couldn’t keep up. And so, I had a company that would send those out. Otherwise I definitely would have seen it. But I didn’t.”
Yet, at one point Piper seemed to imply that she’s the victim in this episode, saying, “Does it feel odd to you that I raised $275,000 and there was a $30 donation that I got a $1,000 fine for? Does that seem odd in the grand scheme of things?”
Although she agreed to the MEC fine with her signature, Piper seemed to indicate to The Heartlander that she doesn’t really agree with the agency’s finding.
“Do you think that people agree to things and they’re not actually making an agreement, but that they’re wasting donor money by keeping an account open?” she said.
But when pressed to say what exactly she contests in the MEC order, Piper suddenly and bizarrely pretended not to know anything about it. The Heartlander repeatedly reminded her it was a Missouri Ethics Commission order and fine that she agreed to, and which she had just answered questions about.
“What agreement? What order? I don’t even know what you’re talking about, friend,” Piper said at various intervals.
A national watchdog certainly knows about the order. The Libs of TikTok account on X, which has 2.7 million followers, took notice of Piper’s fine – and her alleged hypocrisy, since Piper had earlier accused Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders of misuse of funds.
“Jess Piper, far left activist and failed candidate for Missouri State Rep made up a fake controversy about Sarah Sanders committing finance fraud.
“Jess was just found guilty of campaign finance violations.
“They always accuse you of what they themselves are doing.”
Jess Piper, far left activist and failed candidate for Missouri State Rep made up a fake controversy about Sarah Sanders committing finance fraud.
Jess was just found guilty of campaign finance violations.
They always accuse you of what they themselves are doing. pic.twitter.com/1rg8gW2AqI
— Libs of TikTok (@libsoftiktok) January 11, 2024