At least one prosecutor’s office received a complaint to investigate a Missouri state senator.
The Washington, D.C.-based group Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust, or FACT D.C., filed a complaint against Senator Kurt Schaefer (R-Columbia) first with the Missouri Ethics Commission on April 21. A release from the group said it filed the complaint in response to Schaefer’s conduct in dealing with the University of Missouri System and his opponent for state Attorney General, Josh Hawley, a University of Missouri law professor.
“The issue is whether Schaefer used his position on the Senate Appropriations Committee, which had power over the University’s budget and funding, to obtain a University policy change to discourage someone from running against him,” the release said.
Tracy Skaggs, assistant to Boone County Prosecutor Dan Knight, said the office had received “materials” into an investigation of Schaefer. Don Ledford, spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney’s office in Kansas City, did not respond to a message seeking comment for the story.
FACT D.C.’s complaint said Schaefer tried getting the UM Board of Curators to alter its policy for employees running for public office. Those running must accept unpaid leave from the school while seeking the spot. The Board of Curators voted in 2015 to move up the effective date employees would need to take it, after Schaefer had inquired to the board about its leave policy. FACT D.C. said that as the head of the Senate’s Appropriations Committee, board members knew Schaefer controlled the four-campus system’s state funding, and tried to make it “costly” for Hawley to run against Schaefer.
“These facts suggest that Schaefer (a public official) solicited a benefit (an unopposed primary for Attorney General) in return for his positive influence…on University funding as Senator and Senate Appropriations Chairman.”
Neither FACT D.C. nor Schaefer responded to a request for comment.