Clark County Commissioner Charged With Election Violations
By Mike Scott
Clark County Commissioner Gary Webster has been charged with a misdemeanor class four election offense.
According to court documents, Webster, who was then a candidate for Clark County Western District Commissioner, promised to pay back one-half of his salary if elected.
Webster is alleged to have made the promise in a newspaper ad in the July 12 edition of the Hometown Journal newspaper.
A complaint was filed with the Missouri Secretary of State’s office, and in September, Clark County Prosecutor Holly Conger-Koenig received a letter from that office to investigate the alleged election offense.
Because of the conflict of interest, Corey Moon, Assistant Prosecuting Attorney for Lewis County, was appointed as a special prosecutor.
RSMo 115.637, reads:
The following offenses, and any others specifically so described by law, shall be class four election offenses and are deemed misdemeanors not connected with the exercise of the right of suffrage. Conviction for any of these offenses shall be punished by imprisonment of not more than one year or by a fine of not more than two thousand five hundred dollars or by both such imprisonment and fine.
Section 4, which is the section Webster is alleged to have violated, reads: On the part of any candidate for election to any office of honor, trust, or profit, offering or promising to discharge the duties of such office for a less sum than the salary, fees, or emoluments as fixed by law or promising to pay back or donate to any public or private interest any portion of such salary, fees, or emolument as an inducement to voters.
“I didn’t think of it as an inducement to voters,” said Webster in a telephone interview. “I was thinking of my commitment to the county. It’s not a question of my character, I just didn’t realize this was an issue.”
Webster is scheduled to be arraigned in Clark County Associate Circuit Court before special Judge Kelly Lovekamp on February 28.