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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 is a freelance journalist and former political reporter at St. Louis Public Radio.