Mo. lawmaker charged with stealing

Written by Muleskinner Staff


(JEFFERSON CITY, Mo., AP) — A Missouri House member was charged Wednesday with stealing and numerous campaign finance violations for allegedly diverting political donations to his personal use.
Democratic Rep. Steve Webb, of St. Louis County, faces one felony charge of stealing by deceit for soliciting money on behalf of the Missouri Legislative Black Caucus that he allegedly transferred to himself.
Webb also faces seven misdemeanor charges for failing to report campaign contributions and expenditures, making excessive cash expenditures, mixing campaign contributions with personal funds and converting campaign money to personal use.
Webb said in a text message Wednesday to The Associated Press that he would comment about the charges later and hadn’t decided whether to resign from the House.
But House Minority Leader Jake Hummel said Wednesday that Webb told him he intends to resign. Hummel said he believes Webb should step down.
“Misappropriation of political donations for personal use cannot be tolerated,” said Hummel, D-St. Louis.
Webb, who is to turn age 38 on Friday, first was elected to the Missouri House in 2008. The House website lists Webb, of Florissant, as chairman of the House Democratic Caucus.
Webb was chairman of the Missouri Legislative Black Caucus in 2011.
St. Louis County Court documents filed by the prosecuting attorney’s office and police department say Webb solicited a $3,000 donation in September 2011 from Community Loans of America to help sponsor a reception held by the Missouri Legislative Black Caucus in Washington, D.C. Webb is accused of transferring that money to his personal bank account and using it for himself.
The court documents also include a Nov. 6 statement from a Missouri Ethics Commission investigator outlining probable cause to believe Webb violated state campaign finance laws between Jan. 7, 2010, and Nov. 21, 2012.
Two of the misdemeanor charges accuse him of failing to report more than $25,000 of contributions to his campaign committee and nearly $37,000 of expenditures. Three charges allege he made more than the legally allowed amount of cash expenditures from his campaign committee in 2010, 2011 and 2012.
One charge alleges Webb converted about $6,600 of contributions to his campaign committee for his personal use. Another charge accuses him of purposely comingling about $5,100 of contributions received by his campaign committee with money in accounts set up for he and his wife, a children’s basketball team, the Missouri Legislative Black Caucus and entities called the SW Portrait Group and Extended Horizons.
The felony stealing-by-deceit charge carries a maximum penalty of up to seven years in prison. The misdemeanor charges all carry maximum penalties of up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine.