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Attorney General announces attempt to make campaign donations more transparent

chris koster
File photo
Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster

After a New York Time’s article published in late October revealed Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster accepted thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from lawyers of companies his office investigated, he announced he’ll be implementing “new transparency measures intended to address perceptions regarding political contributions.”

Joshua Hawley, Associate Professor of Law at the University of Missouri Law School, said he hopes that Missouri lawmakers will implement similar measures for themselves. 

“Well, I think it’s a much needed move and the attorney general is right to do it," Hawley said. "It’s a shame that it comes only after these disturbing allegations of potential misconduct and ethical violations by his office. I applaud the move, but I think the allegations that were raised by The New York Times were very, very serious and I’m sure they’ll be seriously looked into it — as they should be. And I hope this is a wakeup call for a broader ethics reform in Jefferson City.”

Koster says he will decline contributions from anyone employed by the attorney general’s office, or from individuals and entities facing current litigation against the Attorney General's office and litigation from the past 90 days. He will also decline contributions from lobbyists, attorneys, and their law firms, personally engaged in the representation of individuals and entities for pending and current suits against the AG office or that has been resolved in the past 90 days.

Democratic Senator Scott Sifton said recently that he is going to run for Missouri Attorney General in 2016. Despite allegations that Koster’s office accepted thousands of dollars in campaign donations from lawyers of companies his office investigated, Senator Sifton said Koster has been a strong watchdog and champion for Missouri consumers.  

“I think the changes he has made, the safeguards he has implementing in his office are appropriate," Sifton said. "I think the state of Missouri would be a better place if legislatures would impose the same restrictions on themselves and I challenge the Missouri house and senate to follow Koster’s lead on this issue.”

Koster said he will also no longer accept gifts of any value from registered lobbyists, which is currently legal for Missouri lawmakers to do. Koster did not state in his release when he would start implementing these measures or if they will go into effect immediately.

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