AG candidate Koster target of another fundraising ethics complaint

JEFFERSON CITY | Two state Senators on Monday filed a complaint with the Missouri Ethics Commission alleging campaign fundraising violations by attorney general candidate Chris Koster.

The complaint, by Sens. Maida Coleman, a St. Louis Democrat, and Scott Rupp, a Wentzville Republican, is the second lodged against Koster regarding his alleged involvement in funneling high-dollar contributions into his campaign. Marion Eisen, a former assistant attorney general, is also listed as a complainant.

Koster, a Democrat, is currently a state senator from Raymore.

The Associated Press and The Kansas City Star reported last week that a campaign staffer for Koster was intimately involved in shuttling money from donors to a committee set up by a close friend of Koster’s to several legislative committees and then into Missourians for Koster, the candidate’s own committee.

“Candidates for attorney general should be held to highest legal and ethical standard,” Coleman said in a statement. “The questions raised in last week's Associated Press report suggest that Mr. Koster violated the people's trust.”

The complaint alleges Koster “knowingly violated the law by personally directing a money laundering scheme to benefit him and his campaign” in order to receive more than $300,000 in donations that exceeded personal contribution limits.

It further asks the commission to bar Koster from spending any “laundered” money, require him to refund it, level additional financial penalties and refer the case to law enforcement for potential criminal prosecution.

In response to the earlier complaint , which was filed last month and made public last week, the Koster campaign said its actions were within the law and done in consultation with the Ethics Commission.

Koster Spokesman Danny Kanner released a statement yesterday calling the new complaint a political stunt.

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

Koster is running in a heated Democratic primary against state Reps. Margaret Donnelly, of St. Louis County, and Jeff Harris, of Columbia.