A BUSINESSMAN, farmer and unpaid political activist, Ron Calzone, stands up for his constitutional rights. Doing so on several occasions places him in front of judges. Sometimes he loses, but in his challenge to a Missouri Ethics Commission decision, Calzone stands before the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis and wins when he asserts he does not have to register as a lobbyist to give his unpaid political views to lawmakers.

JEFFERSON CITY – If a cattle rancher on the north side of Ray County wanted to talk to a state lawmaker about how all Missouri livestock producers would benefit from continuing to define “meat products” as being derived from animals, rather than from plants...

If a Richmond resident wanted to complain to a lawmaker about a business that uses “bait and switch” tactics just to get people through the doors...

If Orrick-, Henrietta- and Hardin-area farmers, business owners and residents met with a lawmaker to advocate for an improved levee system to reduce chances for future flooding from the Missouri and Crooked rivers...

Then those wanting to talk with lawmakers must first register with the Missouri Ethics Commission as lobbyists.

The requirement is based on a court ruling opposed by 8th Circuit Court Judge David Stras.

“(Missouri) law seemingly sweeps up all unpaid political advocacy by anyone who acts on behalf of someone else, no matter how often it occurs and regardless of its purpose,” Stras stated in his minority opinion as part of a three-member judicial panel.


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