Missouri Ethics Commission Cites Lobbysts

(AP) – Several Missouri lobbyists likely broke state laws requiring that they name the lawmakers they buy meals for when they first reported a steakhouse dinner at a conservative legislative policy meeting, according to a report by the state’s ethics panel.
The Missouri Ethics Commission issued letters of concern Friday to seven lobbyists, who were among 15 who split a nearly $5,700 dinner bill during last year’s annual American Legislative Exchange Council meeting. The group provides template legislation for conservative lawmakers.
Five Republican lawmakers – former House speakers John Diehl and Tim Jones, Rep. Sue Allen and Sens. Ed Emery and Wayne Wallingford – were among the crowd of about 40 that dined at a Dallas steakhouse.
The commission report says seven lobbyists improperly reported the meal as being bought for the entire General Assembly, rather than listing individual lawmakers present. That’s because not all legislators were invited, which would have allowed lobbyists to report the meal to the group as a whole even if only a few attended.
The report, agreed to by the lobbyists, says the lobbyists believed all lawmakers had been invited and later corrected their reports to list the expenses as going toward specific lawmakers.

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