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Conflict of Interest

About Complaints

Statutory Authority Chapter 105.957, RSMo. This is intended only as a summary to aid understanding of the complaint process with the Missouri Ethics Commission. Please consult the law itself.

Filing a Complaint with the Missouri Ethics Commission

The Missouri Ethics Commission may receive complaints alleging violations of:

  • Campaign finance laws
  • Personal Financial Disclosure Laws
  • Lobbying laws
  • Conflict of interest laws
  • Codes of conduct adopted by a department, division, state agency, and state institutions of higher learning
  • Orders, ordinances, or resolutions of any political subdivision relating to the official conduct of officials or employees, including constitutional provisions or state statutes

To file a complaint, complete the Official Complaint form. The form should contain all known facts, must be filed by a natural person, notarized, and mailed or delivered in person to the Missouri Ethics Commission.

Complaints Not Investigated by the Missouri Ethics Commission

The Missouri Ethics Commission cannot investigate complaints that:

  • Refer to conduct occurring prior to the expiration of the statute of limitations for criminal conduct
  • Are related to conduct occurring more than two years prior to the complaint date and are not criminal violations
  • Alleges misconduct by a candidate for public office, other than failure to file timely and accurately, a Personal Financial Disclosure statement or campaign finance disclosure reports, from 60 days prior to the primary until after the general election
  • Provides any allegation against a candidate or a candidate committee, within 15 days prior to the primary or general election which the candidate is running for office. Those complaints can be filed after the election.

The Commission may refuse to investigate any conduct that is the subject of civil or criminal litigation.

Complaint Proceedings

Within five days of receipt of a complaint (or one business day for those complaints filed against candidates within 60 days of an election), the Missouri Ethics Commission sends a copy of the complaint and the complainant’s name to the person/entity that the complaint is brought against (respondent). The Commission is not authorized to receive anonymous complaints. The complainant is also notified that the Commission has accepted the complaint.

A complaint investigation can take up to 90 days at which time the Commission will consider whether to dismiss the complaint or to refer the complaint for a legal case. Complaints filed against candidates within 60 days before an election must be investigated and presented to the Commission within 15 business days. The complaint will be either dismissed at that time, or referred to legal counsel for an administrative proceeding or a prosecutor for allegations of criminal conduct or nepotism.

The statute requires that Commission investigations and hearings held related to a complaint remain confidential. Commission cases are resolved either by consent agreement or at a hearing before the Commission. The final disposition of the complaint is made public on the Commission’s Website here.

Additional information about Commission proceedings can be found in the FAQ’s on our website here, and in Commission Rule 1 CSR 50-2 here.

Frivolous Complaints

The Missouri Ethics Commission must dismiss any complaint which it finds to be frivolous in nature, which is lacking basis in fact or law. Any person submitting a frivolous complaint shall be held liable for actual and compensatory damages to the alleged violator. Upon finding that a complaint is frivolous, the Commission must issue a public report stating the specific reasons for the dismissal. The complaint and all materials related to the complaint become public record.

Once a complaint is filed with the Commission, it will not be withdrawn upon request of the complainant.

Conflict of Interest


View frequently asked questions regarding conflict of interest (including Nepotism)

Resources & Training

View a variety of different resources regarding ethics laws, including publications and training opportunities.