Creve Coeur City Councilwoman Beth Kistner is among a group of 18 candidates for municipal office in St. Louis County notified this month about outstanding campaign finance documents.
A letter from the St. Louis County Board of Elections dated March 10 informed city clerk Debbie Ryan that "Ms. Kistner has failed to file her Quarterly Reports, an amended Statement of Committee Organization and/or a Termination report for the April 3, 2007 General Municipal election," called for under state law.
The letter cites statutes in state law which prevent a candidate from taking office or filing to run in the future until those documents are filed. Kistner won the 2007 race for city council and is running for re-election next month.
Representatives from the St. Louis County Board of Elections and the Missouri Ethics Commission directed questions to the municipalities which received the letters. The Board of Elections said it sent out letters to 16 municipalities, with Kistner's being the only one in Creve Coeur.
Kistner said she learned of the letter over the last weekend and called the news "a complete surprise" Monday night, saying that there were no funds left from that campaign.
Her Ward One opponent Anthony Kardis attempted to seize upon the news and accused Kistner of violating campaign finance laws during a , but did not go into detail because of League of Women Voters guidelines against criticizing opponents.
Representatives from the St. Louis County Board of Elections and the Missouri Ethics Commission directed questions to the municipalities which received the letters. Tuesday night Kistner told Patch it was her understanding that the 2007 campaign had been closed and that she still didn't understand why it had not. Saying she was acting on the advice of the Board of Elections and the Missouri Ethics Commission, Kistner said she planned to file the necessary reports as early as Wednesday.
It is still unclear if there are further ramifications at the city level. Creve Coeur City Clerk Debbie Ryan and City Administrator Mark Perkins are attempting to get in touch with city legal counsel. The city attorney Carl Lumley, is away on a spring break vacation with family.
While the letter of the law says candidates cannot be sworn into office or run for another office without those documents having been filed, there may be precedent at the state level to the contrary. The Kansas City Star and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported on the campaign finance reporting problems of several lawmakers, including one Kansas City area incumbent State Representative who was ultimately sworn into office after he paid outstanding fines over campaign campaign finance reports dating back several years.