Ethics complaint filed against Missouri AG candidate

Chris Rizo Jul. 16, 2008, 1:00am

Chris Koster (D)

Margaret Donnelly (D)

Jeff Harris (D)

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (Legal Newsline)-The state Ethics Commission was asked Tuesday to investigate allegations that Missouri attorney general candidate Chris Koster has violated campaign finance laws.

Papers filed with the state Ethics Commission outline how Koster's campaign staff shuttled money among various campaign committees to avoid the state's $1,350 campaign contribution limits for individual donors.

State Sen. Scott Rupp, R-St. Charles, state Sen. Maida Coleman, D-St. Louis and former assistant attorney general Marion Eisen filed the complaints.

They say Koster, a Republican-turned-Democrat, skirted campaign finance laws by directing contributors to give to an outside entity since political action committees may give many more times the amount individuals may contribute to a campaign.

The Koster campaign allegedly told contributors who wished to donate more to Koster than state law allowed to make an additional donation to a group called the Economic Growth Council.

The Economic Growth Council then funneled the money it received into Koster's campaign coffers.

The complaints ask that Koster be barred from using the funds funneled into his campaign from the Economic Growth Council.

The Ethics Commission has 15 days to rule on the allegations, putting the deadline one day after the Aug. 5 primary.

For its part, Koster's campaign has said it has complied with the state's campaign finance laws, and dismissed the complaints as partisan.

"This is yet another political gimmick drummed up by Republicans scared of running against Koster in the fall and desperate Democratic politicians who know their records in law enforcement just don't stack up," Koster campaign spokesman Danny Kanner said in a statement.

Koster and fellow Democratic state Reps. Margaret Donnelly and Jeff Harris are fighting for their party's AG nomination.

The winner of the Aug. 5 Democratic primary will go up against Republican AG candidate Senate President Pro Tem Michael Gibbons, R-Kirkwood, in November.

The candidates are vying to replace outgoing Attorney General Jay Nixon, a Democrat, who is running for Missouri governor.

From Legal Newsline: Reach reporter Chris Rizo at

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