State Sen. Wright-Jones fails to account for $95K -

State Sen. Wright-Jones fails to account for $95K


ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Campaign paperwork for state Sen. Robin Wright-Jones indicates that she failed to account for how she spent more than $95,000 in campaign funds, according to a newspaper's review.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported Sunday that a campaign report in August 2010 showed that she had almost $96,000 in the bank. A new report field two weeks ago showed $211 on hand and didn't spell out how the money was used.

Wright-Jones, a St. Louis Democrat, blamed the discrepancy on errors by her ailing treasurer. She said the money was spent on legitimate expenses but wasn't recorded properly.

"She would load in donations, but she would not do expenses, just because she was not capable," Wright-Jones said.

The recent report also showed some questionable payments, including campaign money spent on shoes for a political event. Money also was spent on phone bills, even though Wright-Jones already had received taxpayer reimbursement for them.

State law requires political candidates to track each dollar in their campaign accounts and bars money from being spent on personal expenses.

Wright-Jones, who won an open Missouri Senate seat in 2008, acknowledged that she should not have bought shoes with her campaign fund and conceded there had been a "very large" oversight on expensing her phone bills.

"I have nothing to hide," said Wright-Jones, who has enlisted a private accountant to review her campaign finances. "This is just one of those things that went sour."

Wright-Jones has had a history of record-keeping issues, including sporadic filing of the required campaign reports. Her campaign owes the Missouri Ethics Commission more than $5,000 in late fees, and the fines must be paid before Wright-Jones can file for re-election next year.

Wright-Jones said she was in the process of untangling her earlier campaign reports and was prepared for the Ethics Commission to "fine me whatever."

"Our faith tells us we need to work toward perfection," she said, "even if we may not attain it."

The Post-Dispatch report comes just as Wright-Jones reached a settlement in a lawsuit stemming from her 60th birthday party at the Four Seasons Hotel. Five Capitol lobbyists chipped in $500 each to help fund the party, but the hotel sued Wright-Jones in March after she failed to pick up the remainder of the $6,000 tab.

Wright-Jones, now 61, said she is prohibited from discussing the details of the settlement.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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