Former Missouri lawmaker fighting campaign violation costs

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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – A former Missouri lawmaker is arguing to the state’s Supreme Court that she shouldn’t have to pay $230,000 for alleged campaign finance violations.

An attorney for former St. Louis Democratic Sen. Robin Wright-Jones told judges Tuesday that the charge amounts to an unconstitutionally excessive fine by the Missouri Ethics Commission.

A lawyer representing the commission said the amount is an appropriate fee for a couple hundred thousand dollars of expenditures and contributions the candidate failed to accurately report by state deadlines.

Wright-Jones was elected to the Senate in 2008. She lost re-election in 2012.

Some judges appeared skeptical of an argument by Wright-Jones’ attorney that the commission should have charged at most $1,000 per violation. Judge Laura Denvir Stith said fees can be twice the amount of money incorrectly reported.