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MO Ethics Commission's position on contribution give-back unclear

By Maria Hickey, KWMU

St. Louis, MO. – It's not clear which way the Missouri Ethics Commission will come down on candidates giving back contributions that exceed recently reinstated limits.

The Missouri Supreme Court issued an opinion that leaves the decision up to the 6-member commission.

Executive Director Bob Connor says the commission may have to decide on a case by case basis.

While Democrats point to a legal brief which included the Ethics Commission favoring refunds of over-the-limit contributions, Connor says the members never voted on the brief.

"It was filed on behalf of the state of Missouri et al by the attorney general and we're an et al," Connor said.

Meanwhile Attorney General Jay Nixon says his office will not counsel the commission on how to interpret the opinion in part because Nixon is running for governor.

University of Missouri-St. Louis Political Science professor David Robertson says it's hard to know how the Ethics Commission will proceed

"How the commission will go about making its decision, what kind of internal rules it uses to make that decision, and how it proceeds on those more difficult cases; that's kind of an open question at this point," Robertson said.

The commission is set to meet Thursday, but it's uncertain whether they'll act on the campaign refund issue.