Raytown alderwoman facing Missouri Ethics Commission charges

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Issues from the complaint. // via Missouri Ethics Council

The Missouri Ethics Commission filed a complaint against Raytown alderwoman Bonnaye Mims and her campaign for misusing funds during her run to represent District 27 in the 2016 Democratic Primary election.

The Commission’s staff received the complaint and performed a review of the committee’s campaign finance reports. It found eight counts of not following the guidelines for campaign funds, ending with a fee of $20,807 being imposed on Mims and her staff. There is a $16,600 imposition on the fee provided that Mims makes a monthly payment of $150 until the remaining $4,207 is paid or payments were made for the next 28 months, whichever comes first.

The counts run from 2015 to 2018 and include unreported contributions, expenditures, donations, and unauthorized use of campaign funds, some of which were used on paying dues for a high school reunion and a veterinary bill. There’s a count that states the campaign made 29 cash expenditures, totaling $4,580. Each time exceeded the allowable amount of $50, with the most spent being $500 on two separate occasions.

Other counts mention a failure to file a fundraising statement for an event on Nov. 5, 2015 and a failure to accurately report money on hand, which happened on 26 statements between 2016 and 2018. It also failed to timely file one 48 hour report of contribution in 2015, six 24 hour notices, and one 8 Day Before General Election report in 2016.

Those aren’t the only failures to timely report listed, as it shows 19 different non-itemized contributions and random receipts, totaling $2,677.50 from 2015 to 2018. There are also three different times in which Mims failed to timely report itemized and non-itemized expenditures, as well as inaccurately reporting 76 expenditures, totaling $22,034.41. The expenditures were initially reported as miscellaneous disbursements or miscellaneous receipts, expenditures with incorrect amounts, a loan repayment reported but not applied to outstanding indebtedness, and some were listed on the wrong report.

This presents a unique issue for Raytown, as Mims currently holds a spot on the city’s budget committee.

UPDATE July 15, 1 p.m.: Mims reached out with a statement regarding this filing. A relevant portion of her comments are reprinted below with minor editing for spelling, spacing, and clarity:

Information was given and I submitted clarifying documents regarding the two “personal” findings and the report reflects ”this was done by error”…a receipt was in the documents sent to MEC, by mistake with my personal checking account number on it and the investigator read the account number to me, which I verified. Once the information was provided MEC put it on the report and stated “error.” The second account went to the arts program as a donation from the Class of 70, not dues. This was clarified. Affidavits were submitted to MEC but did not reflect in their findings of cash withdrawals which paid to campaign workers who worked my campaign. No personal use was found.   wrote checks (for record-keeping) to all individuals and learned that many preferred cash. I then cancelled the checks and withdrew funds to pay the campaign workers. Documents/affidavits were provided. Again, no personal use of funds was found.

Upon being informed of my violations: I was told by MEC that they saw where I amended my reports to reflect the corrected amounts on hand and balanced my records at the closing of my campaign. My violations, which was explained to me in detail and supported by affidavits from the recipients. I was informed by MEC that they saw “No fraud, no theft, no money laundering or misappropriation of funds only that my records, in the beginning, did not reflect current balances on hand and the many cash withdrawals in several reports and I agreed. After two years of submitting detailed accounts, original reports, documents, and affidavits, my violations were for the many cash withdrawals and balance of money on hand.

In my many years of campaigning, I have never had something like this happen. I learned that everything that you put in your original reports need to also be re-entered into the amended reports. I took full responsibility for the mishap and I continue to take full responsibility by paying the fine that I received in the amount of $4,207.00 and I am making payments until my fine is paid regarding my State Rep campaign. I have learned from these errors and that some were beyond my control.

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