Missouri Gift Ban Extends to Written Materials

gift law, Missouri

A public interest law firm challenged an executive order banning lobbyists from giving anything of value, including written materials, to executive branch officials.

The Institute for Justice, a Virginia-based nonprofit libertarian law firm, filed suit against Gov. Mike Parson and members of the Missouri Ethics Commission for enforcing Executive Order 17-02, which expands the definition of gift to include publications addressing public policy issues.

The Institute for Justice claims that by prohibiting the distribution of two of its public policy publications to government officials, the executive order violates the law firm’s First Amendment right to free speech. The law firm also claims the executive order violates its right to equal protection by prohibiting only lobbyists from sharing publications with state officials of the executive branch.

The order was issued on January, 9, 2017, by former Gov. Eric Greitens.