Second time MEC has sanctioned Parkville’s mayor
nother conviction for Parkville Mayor Nan Johnston.
For the second time in less than two years, the Missouri Ethics Commission has found the Parkville mayor guilty of campaign violations.
The ethics commission recently ruled it had found probable cause to believe Johnston and the Committee to Elect Nan Johnston failed to report an expense in a timely manner.
The ethics commission, however, seemed to go light in its punishment on Johnston for the latest violation. Based on a previous conviction, the ethics commission could have forced Johnston to pay much more in fines than it ruled for this latest violation.
In March 2020, the MEC had found Johnston’s campaign reports contained inaccurate information and had belatedly disclosed some expenses and contributions, including a $5,000 check from developer Don Julian. She was found to have committed four ethics violations at that time.
As a result of those violations, the MEC issued Johnston and her campaign finance committee a fine of $5,242 as a sanction, but she was allowed by pay $524 within 45 days to avoid paying the full amount.
At that time, the MEC said it will “stay” much of that fine if Johnston pays $524 of that fee and avoids any further violations of campaign finance laws for a two year period.
As it turns out, she did not avoid violations of campaign finance laws for two years. However, interestingly the MEC did not reinstate the full amount of that initial $5,242 fine in its latest ruling.
After her initial MEC case was resolved, Johnston in March of 2020 received an invoice for legal fees from that original case. A complaint was filed to MEC in December of 2020 that Johnston didn’t include legal fees on a report, and the MEC confirmed in its investigation.
The ethics commission found that “violations of law had occurred due to incorrectly filed campaign finance reports.” The MEC says Johnston’s campaign finance committee failed to report the legal fees on a campaign disclosure report. Later, the outstanding legal debt of $7,500 was paid by Johnston’s committee ahead of an April 2021 quarterly report.
Johnston and her campaign committee face a $1,000 fine for this latest violation, but the MEC offers her the condition that if she pays a $100 fine within the first 45 days the reminder of the fee will be “stayed.”
There is no mention of forcing Johnston to pay earlier “stayed” fine amounts for the previous violations.
A PATTERN OF TROUBLE
The latest decision by the Missouri Ethics Commission is the newest development in a pattern of trouble for Parkville’s mayor.
In addition to being found to have committed four counts of ethics violations in the 2020 decision followed by the guilty of one count in the latest round, Johnston also has a recent criminal conviction on her record.
Earlier this year, Johnston pled guilty to driving while intoxicated. She was arrested on Sept. 26, 2020 while traveling on Hwy. 9 near Eastside Drive at 1:15 a.m. She blew .110 on the portable blood alcohol test at the scene and later at the jail her BAC was tested at .098, above Missouri’s legal limit of .08.
She received a suspended imposition of sentence and was placed on probation for two years. She was also instructed to complete 40 hours of community service.