Today, Keep Columbia Free uncovered documents that indicate Fifth Ward Columbia City Council candidate Mark Jones may have been involved in some unsavory campaign finance shenanigans during the 2002 election. Candidate Jones is a long-time Democrat political operative and campaign strategist who is currently employed by the National Education Association (NEA), the largest and, arguably, most destructive public-sector labor union in the country. He faces newcomer Tootie Burns and former City Councilwoman Laura Nauser in the February 5th special election to fill the seat vacated by Helen Anthony.
MEC documents indicate that in 2006, Democrat Campaign Committeeman Jones was fined $2500 for his part in the commingling funds among Democrat campaign committees and filing reports for Treasurer Ann Jones.
From the MEC website:
H2450 Council to Protect Missouri’s Values, et al. The Commission accepted a signed Joint
Stipulation of Facts and Waiver of Hearing, Conclusions of Law and issued Consent Orders
which require the Council to Protect Missouri’s Values, et al. to pay a fine of $799.85,
Respondent Ann Jones to pay a fine of $200.00 and Respondent Mark Jones to pay a fine of
$2,500.00 pursuant to Sections 105.961.4(6) and 130.072 RSMo.
$2,500 is a significant fine for an individual so the commission must have felt his actions were egregious. This kind of staggering ethics violation indicates a complete disregard for Missouri’s campaign finance laws.
Click HERE to read the report.
This news should have all eyes on Jones’s MEC filings for his current campaign committee. If you take a look at his first report, you’ll notice a couple of interesting things. The first is that you have to scroll for quite a while to find a local donor. In fact, the overwhelming bulk of his money comes from out of town and out of state — certainly odd for a city council campaign.
The second item of note is the listing of small donations. The MEC only requires that donation over $100 be itemized. I’ve often seen this tactic used by Missouri Democrats who are being funded primarily by folks outside their own constituency. In order to give the appearance of significant local funding, a candidate will itemize small donations, even $5 and $10 in Jones’s case, which also serves to muddy the water for anyone digging through the report.
You can read Jones’s campaign finance report by clicking HERE.
In a recent Missourian story, Jones indicated that he believes his foreign funding won’t be a turnoff to voters since he has lived and worked in Columbia since graduating from college. This blogger believes just the opposite. If the people who you live and work next to won’t give you money, they probably won’t show up to a special election to vote for you.