By Diane Krizek
Tribune Reporter

On Mar. 15, the Missouri Ethics Commission meeting agenda included hearing the late fee appeal of Tom Lovell who is running for the termed-out seat of state representative Gary Cross. Somebody evidently filed a Missouri Ethics Commission complaint citing the failure of Lovell’s committee to meet the deadline of the 40-day before general municipal election-4/3/2018 report.

According to the MEC, a certified appeal letter was mailed to Lovell on Mar. 7 but the commissioners realized the day of its meeting that Lovell’s committee had not responded yet to the certified mail. The committee has 10 days from the date of receipt to respond.

The MEC tabled the hearing until its Apr. 25 meeting. But Mar. 15 was also the expiration date of commissioners Chair Nancy Hagan, Democrat, 7th Congressional District; Vice Chair Bill Deeken, Republican, 3rd Congressional District; and Eric L. Dirks, Democrat, 5th Congressional District.

Commissioners of some state agencies can stay past their term expiration until a replacement is appointed. Not so with the MEC. Mar. 15 was the last day for Hagan, Deeken and Dirks leaving just three commissioners and not one replacement nominated by Governor Greitens. Due to the senate confirmation process, gubernatorial appointments are normally done weeks in advance.

According to James Carr, MEC executive director, the hearing bears no weight with the outcome of the upcoming municipal election. Lovell will likely be required to pay penalties. That is, whenever the MEC is able to hold a hearing with six commissioners.

That possibility seems bleak in a state where the governor is charged with a felony and also faces an MEC complaint alleging the use of a list of nonprofit donors for the purpose of raising money for his 2016 campaign.