Missouri AG candidate's contribution shunned by fellow Democrat

Chris Rizo Jul. 19, 2008, 7:00pm

Chris Koster (D)

Vernon (Doc) Harlan

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (Legal Newsline)-A Missouri candidate for the state Legislature says he has returned a $300 contribution from fellow Democrat state Sen. Chris Koster, who's running for attorney general.

Dr. Vernon (Doc) Harlan of St. Louis is running for the 71st District state House seat in the Aug. 5 primary.

Harlan said he returned the contributions amid recent revelations that Koster's campaign may have "been connected to laundering of political funds."

Koster's camp is accused in an state Ethics Commission complaint of skirting state 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.

Koster's campaign has said it has complied with the state's campaign finance laws.

Koster and fellow Democratic state Reps. Margaret Donnelly and Jeff Harris are fighting for their party's AG nomination in a particularly bitter primary race.

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 chrisrizo@legalnewsline.com.

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