SPRINGFIELD, Mo.–The Missouri Ethics Commission releases its finding into whether the Greene County Commission misused taxpayer money to advocate for a half cents sales tax in November.
The report shows the commission did not misuse taxpayer money but says it committed a different violation.
It stems from a push card used to educate the public on what the tax was.
According to the Missouri Ethics Commission, that card misidentified who paid for its printing, therefore, the county committed a violation.
A press conference was held on Thursday at the historic courthouse where presiding commissioner, Bob Cirtin announced what the report revealed.
According to the Missouri Ethics Commission, the county was found not in violation of misusing taxpayer money to advocate for the tax- rather it was found in violation of incorrectly identifying who paid for push cards used to educate the public.
The push cards said “paid for by Greene County Sheriff’s Office” when the MEC says they were actually paid for by Greene County.
MEC says the push cards are supposed to say paid for by whoever actually paid to have them printed.
For this reason, the county must pay $100 to the Missouri Ethics Commission as part of a consent agreement.
During the press conference, presiding commissioner Bob Cirtin says the report proves that the case against the county is dismissed.
“Innocently accused that we know and I want you to embrace this innocently accused, keep that word dismissed in mind alright and now the county will have to pick up the bill,” says Cirtin.
However, the executive director of the Missouri Ethics Commission, James Klahr says the report only dismisses individual commissioners by virtue of the county signing a consent order.
“It is a settlement with the county so yeh a settlement with the county and the individual officer holders are dismissed and they’re dismissed essentially by virtue of their signing to a consent agreement on behalf of the county,” says Klahr.
Cirtin says the MEC’s report is final and that no more action from the agency is expected.
He also hopes that the report will have a positive impact on the special prosecutor’s investigation into claims he misused taxpayer money.
As for who’s paying for the county’s attorney fees as it relates to the MEC investigation, Cirtin says taxpayers are paying for them including his own personal attorney fees since he says the report found no wrongdoing on his part.
Missourinet media partner KOLR-TV provided this story