In a decision filed just this past week, the Missouri Ethics Commission has fined St. Charles County Councilman Joe Brazil $2,300 for violating Missouri statutes dealing with campaign finance and disclosure.
The decision is the result of an investigation into an election mailer attacking Dale Schaper, a candidate for the Wentzville School Board in the April municipal election. The mailer used as a return address “408 East Main Street, Wentzville 63385,” which is the address of the vacant Dula House, a historic property that is owned by the Wentzville Main Street Association.
According the findings, Brazil “provided pictures, content, and an address list” to a printer in Florida and paid $1,300 for the printing and mailing.
The Missouri Ethics Commission requires a “paid for” statement on election materials. The mailer used the name “Friends for good government of Wentzville,” which is not registered with the St. Charles County Election Authority. The MEC also requires reporting election expenditures above $500 in opposition to a candidate, but such a report was never filed.
“There is probable cause to believe that Respondent Brazil violated Sections 130.031.8 and 130.031.11 RSMo, by publishing, circulating, and distributing a mailer relating to a candidate in the April 2016 Wentzville School Board Election with a true and accurate ‘paid for by’ disclosure statement, and by purposely providing false, misleading, and incomplete information regarding the sponsor of that mailer, and that Respondent Brazil did so knowingly,” the statement said.
“. . . There is probable cause to believe that Respondent Brazil violated Sections 130.047, 130.072, and 130.031.3, RSMo, by not filing a non-committee expenditure report with the St. Charles County Election Authority, knowingly concealing an expenditure by not filing that report, and by making an expenditure in a fictitious name, and that Respondent Brazil did so knowingly.”
At the time, Brazil was running in the August primary for the St. Charles County Council. He won, placing him on the November ballot as the Republican candidate for District 2. Brazil is also the chair of the St. Charles County Republican Central Committee.
Brazil’s fine will be reduced to $1,650 if paid within 45 days. If he commits further violations in a two-year period, he will have to pay the difference.
Brazil and his attorney both acknowledged and signed the MEC statement.
Dale Schaper was re-elected to his seat on the Wentzville School Board in April 2016.