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Florissant legislator steps down amid charges of mishandling campaign money, stealing

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon. - Missouri state Rep. Steve Webb, D-Florissant, announced Monday that he was finally resigning, several weeks after House Democratic leaders had called on him to do so.

Webb, a former head of the Missouri Legislative Black Caucus, faces felony stealing charges as well as misdemeanor counts of campaign finance-related violations.

The felony count stems from an accusation from the St. Louis County Police Department that Webb solicited $3,000 from Community Loans of America. In a statement, the department alleges that Webb “made a representation that the donation would be used to sponsor a reception by the Missouri Legislative Black Caucus in Washington, D.C.”

The campaign-finance violation allegations center on Missouri Ethics Commission findings that Webb failed to report some donations and campaign spending and also improperly used some campaign money for personal expenses.

Webb had resisted initial calls from Democrats to step down, after County Prosecuting Attorney Bob McCulloch had announced the charges about a month ago.

But Monday, Webb announced that he would leave the Missouri House.

“Today is a tough day for me personally. But, this job is never about oneself,” Webb said in a statement. “It has been an honor to serve the people of Missouri's 67th District. I've enjoyed this opportunity because it's given me a platform to be a voice for common, everyday people. My commitment to serving others goes far beyond political office.

“I strongly believe that the allegations against me will work themselves out. It’s only right and fair that my family, the people and my colleagues not be negatively be impacted by the distractions these legal challenges present.

“With that being said, it's with a heavy heart that I will be resigning my office effective immediately.”

As soon as his resignation is official,  it will be up to Gov. Jay Nixon to call a special election so that voters in the 67th District can choose a replacement. The district is predominantly Democratic.

Jo Mannies has been covering Missouri politics and government for almost four decades, much of that time as a reporter and columnist at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. She was the first woman to cover St. Louis City Hall, was the newspaper’s second woman sportswriter in its history, and spent four years in the Post-Dispatch Washington Bureau. She joined the St. Louis Beacon in 2009. She has won several local, regional and national awards, and has covered every president since Jimmy Carter. She scared fellow first-graders in the late 1950s when she showed them how close Alaska was to Russia and met Richard M. Nixon when she was in high school. She graduated from Valparaiso University in northwest Indiana, and was the daughter of a high school basketball coach. She is married and has two grown children, both lawyers. She’s a history and movie buff, cultivates a massive flower garden, and bakes banana bread regularly for her colleagues.

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