Groups are fined $350,000 in dark-money case involving Missouri politicos

The Federal Elections Commission on Monday imposed a $350,000 fine in a campaign finance investigation involving longtime Missouri political operatives.

The $350,000 fine settles an investigation into whether the American Conservative Union, a nonprofit best known for organizing the annual Conservative Political Action Conference, acted illegally as conduit to pass a $1.7 million donation to Now or Never PAC, a super PAC tied to the Missouri political consulting firm of Jeff Roe.

Neither Roe nor his firm was named in the complaint.

The donation in question took place in late 2012, when the American Conservative Union was run by veteran Missouri political strategist Gregg Keller. And the treasurer of Now or Never PAC is James Thomas III, a Kansas City lawyer who has ties to Roe and serves in a similar role with numerous state-level PACs in Missouri.

Neither Keller, Roe nor Thomas could be reached for comment.

“This is one of the clearest cases we’ve seen of laundering money through a dark-money nonprofit to conceal the source of a political contribution,” said Noah Bookbinder, executive director of the liberal watchdog Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington.

The group filed the 2015 complaint that jump-started the FEC investigation.

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