Group seeks criminal probe of adviser to GOP donor facing pay-to-play allegations

By: Jason Hancock, The Kansas City Star, September 29, 2017

A liberal Washington, D.C.-based government watchdog is calling for an investigation into whether an adviser to one of Missouri’s most prolific campaign donors should face criminal prosecution for breaking state lobbying law.

Paul Mouton, a political consultant from Webb City in southwest Missouri, was fined $2,000 this week by the Missouri Ethics Commission for illegally lobbying at the state Capitol for legislation supported by prominent Republican donor David Humphreys.

Mouton was lobbying on Humphreys’ behalf without filing the proper paperwork and disclosing the relationship. He will have to pay only $200 of the $2,000 fine if he doesn’t violate lobbying laws for the next two years.

On Thursday, a group called Campaign for Accountability asked Cole County Prosecutor Mark Richardson to investigate Mouton to see whether he should face criminal prosecution. Richardson did not respond to a request for comment.

“The Missouri Ethics Commission barely slapped Paul Mouton on the wrist for what appears to be a flagrant violation of state law,” said Daniel Stevens, executive director of Campaign for Accountability.

In the complaint filed to Richardson’s office, Stevens notes that violation of Missouri’s lobbying laws can be prosecuted criminally — a class B misdemeanor for a first offense and a class E felony for subsequent offenses.

Mouton is “no political neophyte,” Stevens said, noting that he’s been involved in Missouri politics at various levels for years.

“Mr. Mouton’s long political experience indicates that his failure to follow Missouri’s lobbying laws was no accident,” he said. “It appears highly likely he knowingly failed to register as a lobbyist and file the required reports.”

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