October 28, 2016 •
Citizen Activist Files Suit After Missouri Ethics Commission Requires Lobbyist Registration
The Missouri Ethics Commission has fined a citizen activist for failing to register as a legislative lobbyist.
Registration is required for legislative lobbying if an individual attempts to influence official action and is designated to act as a lobbyist by any person, business entity, or other entity. Ronald Calzone was never paid to communicate with legislators and has never been formally designated to lobby on behalf of any person or entity. The commission believes Calzone, who frequently shares his opinions with state legislators, has self-designated himself as a legislative lobbyist within the meaning of state law.
Calzone filed suit last week in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri claiming the commission is violating his first amendment rights absent a legitimate state interest. He also claims the word “designate” is unconstitutionally vague, facially and as-applied in his case.
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