AG candidate's ex-wife pays for ads against him

Chris Rizo Aug. 1, 2008, 12:47pm

Chris Koster (D)

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (Legal Newsline)-Among Missouri attorney general Chris Koster's biggest political enemies is his ex-wife, who is helping to bankroll attack ads critical of the Republican-turned-Democrat.

Rebecca Bowman Nassikas, who now lives in Scottsdale, Ariz., has donated nearly $200,000 to a political action committee, Missourians for Honest Leadership, which is opposing Koster's candidacy.

The organization that describes itself as non-partisan also started a Web site, The Facts on Koster, which highlights newspaper articles critical of some of Koster's fundraising tactics.

Nassikas told The Kansas City Star that an ethics complaints filed by her ex-husband's rivals prompted her to donate the money.

She has also said she believes Koster was able to loan his campaign $200,000 partly because of their 2005 divorce settlement from which Koster received $580,000.

"This was not some diabolical plan," Nassikas was quoted by the newspaper as saying. "This was me feeling that I was partly responsible for Chris being in a position that put his opponents at an unfair disadvantage."

Koster served as Cass County prosecutor from 1994 through 2004. He was divorced from Nassikas in 2003.

He is in a heated race against state Reps. Margaret Donnelly and Jeff Harris for the Democratic AG nomination to go up against Senate President 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.

The Democratic primary turned particularly ugly after The Associated Press reported last month that 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. Critics said the plan allowed Koster to avoid the state's $1,350 campaign contribution limits for individual donors.

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

A complaint is pending before the state Ethics Commission.

From Legal Newsline: Reach reporter Chris Rizo at

More News