The Missouri Ethics Commission has begun offering campaign finance record-keeping classes to candidates and campaign personnel. The first of the classes was held last week in Jefferson City, with two more sessions set for next month in the capital city, and regional classes being put together for early in the new year.
Ethics Commission Executive Director Julie Allen says most people involved in politics want to follow the rules and report accurately to the Commission, but they sometimes have difficulty understanding the rule.
“Most of us that keep records want to know, ‘How do we do it? What’s the right way to do it? And if we do have reporting requirements what are the right ways to report?” said Allen in an interview with the Missourinet.” And, sometimes the law can be very technical. So, at the Commission, our job is to help break that being technical to being understandable.”
Allen compares running a campaign to running a business.
“They’re taking money in and they’re spending money,” said Allen. “And just like a business there are ways to keep those records, both that are required by law, specifically, and also ways to keep their records so that they will know and be able to easily show that this is the money and this is the money that I’ve received and this is the money that I’ve spent. And then just take that and use that for the reports they have to file with us.”
The information offered covers a campaign committee from beginning to end.
“It’s really just the whole process, starting from when you first start and open your bank account all the way through to even if the committee ends,” said Allen. “It’s answering all of those questions from the beginning of the life of a committee to the end of that life of that committee.”
The Commission is also developing a web training guide on record keeping and reporting which will allow people to learn the ins and outs of electoral requirements from the comfort of their homes or offices. The Commission urges interested individuals to check the MEC web site from time to time for further details.