Missouri lieutenant governor files ethics complaint against main primary opponent

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July 24, 2012

Missouri

By [mailto: Lauren Rodgers]


JEFFERSON CITY, Missouri: The re-election campaign of Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder has filed an ethics complaint against Brad Lager, Kinder's most formidable primary challenger. The complaint accuses the Lager campaign of being behind the website KinderReport.com, a site launched on June 1 attempting to "highlight Kinder's previous personal involvement with an adult entertainer."[1] In the complaint, the Lager campaign is accused of "purposefully violating" the state's campaign finance laws which require truthful disclaimers be placed on all websites and materials associated with the campaign.[1]

The website (the content of which has since been removed) claimed it was "not authorized by any candidate or candidate committee," but as Kinder's filing points out, it was registered to former Lager staffer Jefferson Thomas, who had served as Director of Operations. The complaint suggests the Lager campaign is responsible for the content of the site, even if Thomas is no longer employed by the campaign, because of his earlier involvement. Lager's campaign denies any connection to the website and issued a statement in which campaign manager Ray Bozarth explained "Jefferson Thomas resigned from the campaign at the end of May. I take him at his word that he isn't responsible for the site."[2] The campaign also released a copy of Thomas' resignation letter, dated May 31, in which Thomas explained he was leaving to "pursue other options."[2]

This latest complaint is the most recent accusation thrown by one of the candidates in what is shaping up to be one of the hotly-contested primary races of the year. Lager and Kinder will face each other (and three lesser-known Republican candidates) in the August 7th statewide primary.

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