Intimidation is OK, just don't miss a filing deadline
The Kansas City Star
For the sake of full disclosure, let the record reflect that the Missouri Ethics Commission has officially slapped the hands of the campaign committee seeking reforms of Missouri’s payday loan industry and its treasurer.
Missourians for Responsible Lending and its treasurer, retired United Methodist pastor James Bryan, are charged with violating Missouri law by missing some filing deadlines. They were late on filing a statement of committee organization and the required initial 15-day report.
In a joint stipulation worked out with the Ethics Commission, the committee and Bryan agreed to a $1,000 fine. However, the commission is only requiring a $100 payment, with the remaining amount to be waived after two years if the committee and Bryan comply with all the rules.
Bryan is out of the country doing church mission work. Molly Fleming-Pierre, an organizer with the Communities Creating Opportunities group in Kansas City, attributed the problem to “a grass-roots goof.”
That sounds about right. The drive to get an initiative on the November ballot to rein in Missouri’s payday loan industry is being mostly driven by volunteers, religious congregations and community groups. They wouldn’t have a lot of experience in the Byzantine demands of Missouri’s campaign finance laws.
In any case, it’s ironic that opponents of the ballot initiative have anted up than $2 million dollars in anonymous money, threatened churches and allegedly stole petition signatures, and Bryan and his group are the ones who got into trouble.