Another wrinkle’s been added to the Missouri governor race as a website’s been launched to target improprieties on the part of Democrat candidate Chris Koster.
The site introduced Wednesday by the state Republican Party highlights contributions Attorney General Koster’s received. It includes information not previously made public concerning campaign donations from developers who sought funding from a board sits on.
Missouri Republican Party Chairman John Hancock contends Koster received almost $100,000 in 2015 while serving on the state Housing Development Commission. “In December of last year, Chris Koster’s representative’s on that board voted to authorize tax credits, grants and low interest loans totaling over $14 million to the very donors who had contributed that $100,000 to Koster in the same year.”
Hancock says Koster’s since received over $100,000 in additional contributions from developers who have projects before the commission, which is also known as the MHDC.
Koster campaign spokesperson David Turner contends there’s been no wrong doing. “The attorney general’s office has rarely broken from MHDC recommendations” said Turner.
He claims the website’s an effort to divert attention away from Republican candidate Eric Greitens lack of ethics transparency. Turner claims Greitens “shrouds his largest contributor in secrecy, breaks his own ethics proposal by accepting money from contributors on trial for bribery, and refuses to release his tax returns.”
Hancock says Koster’s votes on the housing commission while receiving donations from developers with business in front of the commission constitutes a conflict of interest. “That is, on its face, an ethical breach. And now he’s running for an office where he not only gets a vote on that commission, he gets to appoint additional members to that commission.”
Hancock admits Koster’s actions don’t break Missouri laws, established by a Republican controlled legislature, which allow unlimited campaign contributions.
The website also spotlights donations reported in the New York Times in 2014 from a lobbying firm representing 5 Hour Energy Drink. After being contacted by the firm, Koster dropped an investigation into 5 Hour’s advertising practices. Koster then established an ethic code for the attorney general’s office he occupies which established conflict of interest policies.
The website ChrisKoster.org is a response to a site by the state Democratic Party, WrongForMissouri.com, which targets Greitens fundraising among other things. The two site could become a key source, outside of advertising, for direct attacks from the candidates after the two sides failed to agree on more debates before the election.