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Thursday, March 27, 2008


The Missouri Ethics Commission has granted so-called "hardship" exemptions to nine state lawmakers to allow them to keep at least some of the money they accepted in excess of the state's campaign contribution limits that briefly were lifted in 2007 but later reinstated by the Missouri Supreme Court.

According to The Associated Press, the lawmakers granted hardships include state Rep. Ron Richard, who is slated to become House speaker next year; House Majority Leader Steve Tilley, House Budget Committee Chairman Allen Icet; House Majority Whip Brian Nieves; and state Sen. Tom Dempsey, who was House majority leader until he moved to the Senate following a special election last fall.

When the Supreme Court reinstated the campaign caps last summer due to a procedural flaw in the bill's passage, it ordered candidates to return their over-limit donations unless they could prove, on a case by case basis, a hardship. The court did not specify what should constitute a hardship, and the Ethics Commission refused to disclose what criteria it used in determining whether candidates to should be allowed to keep the money.

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