KMOV 4 reports Kim Gardner hasn’t disclosed trips required by law
A News 4 investigation has found that Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner has been flying all around the country and the globe with organizations who want to reform the criminal justice system.
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Now, an explosive new report says Kim Gardner has taken many lavish trips on the dime of Soros-backed organizations, and may have broken the law by not reporting them.
St. Louis law requires all public officials to report their travel, and who paid for it. Missouri state law also may apply. KMOV News 4 reports that Gardner’s travel has been “prolific and problematic,” saying that she often can’t be reached to conduct official business while traveling.
She made headlines by charging Mark and Patricia McCloskey for defending their property, but St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kimberly Gardner might have legal problems of her own. Over the last two days, multiple allegations of ethics and campaign violations have erupted against Gardner, and not exactly from defenders of the McCloskeys. The CBS affiliate in St. Louis details a number of trips Gardner took, paid for in part by progressive political supporters, that she never disclosed. KMOV reports that Gardner’s junkets were “prolific and problematic,” at times interfering with her public duties.
Gardner provided them with more ammunition by allegedly violating campaign finance regulations. That accusation comes from Democrats supporting her primary rival, Mary Pat Carl. And it’s not the first time Gardner has done so — in fact, she’s on probation for a previous violation:
Fred Wessels, a former state representative and city alderman, filed a complaint July 21 with the Missouri Ethics Commission alleging Gardner violated probation of a 2019 ethics violation by failing to file within 48 hours a report disclosing a $78,000 in-kind donation from a political action committee based in Washington, D.C.
Wessels’ complaint claims Gardner “failed to report her contracts and payments to the media company who produced the video on her campaign page. That video is also on the circuit attorney website.” Wessels also complained Gardner’s campaign filed its April and July reports late.
Gardner ended up paying over $6,000 and consenting to probation in early 2019 after admitting to using campaign funds for personal expenses:
Missouri ethics regulators fined St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner $63,009 after officials said she used campaign funds for personal expenses and failed to accurately report numerous contributions and expenditures.
Gardner will have to pay only $6,314 to the agency if she cuts a check within 45 days, however, according to a consent order she signed on Dec. 28 with the Missouri Ethics Commission. …
Between April 2015 and July 2016, according to a 25-page consent order published Wednesday, Gardner used $2,855 in campaign funds to pay for housing costs. The order says the Missouri House reimbursed Gardner for the same costs.
The commission also said that, among other infractions, Gardner had failed to accurately report numerous contributions and expenditures.
ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) – A News 4 investigation has found that St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner has been flying all around the country and the globe with organizations who want to reform the criminal justice system.
However, it appears she has violated the law, by not reporting the trips.
Sources tell News 4 Gardner is a frequent flyer. At times during her tenure as prosecutor, sources say, she has often been gone from her office a couple of times every month, jetting around on someone else’s dime.
Social media snaps show Gardner posing for pictures in Portugal, listening to conversations in New Haven, Connecticut, smiling with other prosecutors in Houston and linking arms in Selma, Alabama.
Sources tell News 4 that some of the trips were paid for in full, or in part, by an organization called Fair and Just Prosecution, a group that professes to support progressive prosecutors. The organization has repeatedly applauded many of Gardner’s actions, including the charges against Mark and Patricia McCloskey for brandishing guns in the Central West End last month.
The group is also supporting outspoken prosecutors such as Marilyn Mosby in Baltimore, who has also recently responded to criticism about her travel, and acknowledged she took a number of trips, saying they were properly reported.
St. Louis laws require every elected official report their travel and whether it was paid for with public or private funds.
Sometimes, Missouri law also mandates information about who paid for travel and lodging.
But sources tell News 4 that Gardner’s traveling was prolific and problematic. They say she was unreachable on trips, making it difficult to get decisions made. “It’s also what wasn’t happening in your office in this case, the Circuit Attorney, because you were absent,” Ishmael said.
Fair and Just Prosecution responded to some of News 4’s questions, saying they generally will pay for prosecutors’ food, lodging and airfare for their events. They did not, however, confirm the number of trips Gardner or Bell have taken with them.