Judge tosses ethics complaint against ‘citizen lobbyist’

Gavel on desk in courtroom

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — A Missouri judge has thrown out a state ethics case against a man who describes himself as a “citizen lobbyist” because the complaint was filed by a group, instead of a natural person.

The Missouri Ethics Commission last September fined Ron Calzone $1,000 and ordered him to stop trying to influence potential state legislation until he registers and files expenditure reports.

Calzone, a director of Missouri First, says his organization is a think tank that promotes limited government. He says his group has neither designated him as its lobbyist nor pays him for testifying at legislative hearings.

Cole County Circuit Judge Jon Beetem ruled last week that the complaint was improperly filed and that the Ethics Commission is prohibited from taking any further action on it.