Former Missouri Lawmaker Fined For Ethics Violations
A former Missouri lawmaker now running for mayor of Ferguson has been fined $77,500 after a state ethics panel determined he used campaign money on personal expenses.
The Missouri Ethics Commission on Tuesday announced the fine for Courtney Curtis, a Democrat who served three two-year terms as a state representative from St. Louis County starting in 2013. The commission said it had probable cause to believe Curtis failed to report 722 expenditures that included visits to spas, casinos, bars and restaurants.
Curtis also failed to report 10 contributions, including a $25,000 check from Republican donor David Humphreys of Joplin.
The fine could be waived if Curtis pays $7,750 and remains in compliance with state law for two years, the ethics commission said.
A phone message left Wednesday with Curtis was not immediately returned.
The Missouri Supreme Court blocked Curtis from running for a seat in the Missouri Senate in 2018 because he had not paid a separate fine for violating state campaign finance laws.
In that case, the commission fined Curtis $114,000 for maintaining at least 11 bank accounts for his campaign fund, which the commission said potentially allowed him to use some donations for personal use. The commission also ruled he accepted cash donations exceeding state limits, deposited campaign contributions into a personal bank account and used campaign funds to pay for items that were already covered by the state.
Curtis also was fined in 2016 for failing to file a report on how much money he raised and spent in the weeks leading up to the August primary election.
Curtis is running for mayor of Ferguson in April 2020. Curtis, who is black, first called for leadership changes in Ferguson in 2014 after the fatal police shooting of Michael Brown, a black and unarmed 18-year-old, by white officer Darren Wilson.
A St. Louis County grand jury and the U.S. Department of Justice both declined to prosecute Wilson, who resigned from the police force in November 2014. The shooting was a catalyst for the national Black Lives Matter movement.