Saturday, August 02, 2008

Koster campaign receives $10,000 boost from company which has had problems with attorney general's office

Vacation Services of America, a Branson-based company that Attorney General Jay Nixon accused of bilking customers in 2004, appears to have funneled $10,000 into the campaign account of Democratic attorney general candidate Chris Koster.

Missouri Ethics Commission documents show Vacation Services of America contributed the money to the Economic Growth Council, which has been a laundering service for Koster's money. Economic Growth Council has been sending its money to county and legislative committees, which are allowed to contribute up to $13,450, thus enabling well-heeled contributors to avoid the $1,375 limit for individual contributors.

Vacation Services of America was required to pay $10,391 in restitution following an action taken by Jay Nixon four years ago.

According to the Aug. 25, 2004, Kansas City Star, the company and others were described by Nixon as "allegedly unscrupulous vacation and travel companies."

The article said the companies "made false promises that people would save money, used tough pressure tactics to sell travel packages, claiming high upfront fees and then failed to provide services, and refused to let customers cancel orders."

The Economic Growth Council's Ethics Commission report also shows it received $8,700 from Seeger Weiss, a New York law firm with a reputation for winning multi-million dollar class action lawsuits, $7,500 from Aquila, Inc, Kansas City; $5,000 from Joseph Danis, Clayton; and $5,000 from John Simmons, Alton, Ill.

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