Sunday, August 31, 2008

Troubled Branson company has given $10,000 to both attorney general candidates

A Branson company that had to pay a large fine for bilking customers, thanks to Attorney General Jay Nixon, appears to be attempting to inoculate itself against problems with his successor.

Missouri Ethics Commission documents show Vacation Travel Services gave $10,000 to Republican candidate Michael Gibbons Friday, and funneled the same amount to Democratic candidate Chris Koster through the laundering service provided by the Economic Growth Council, which sent the money to district committees, which then sent it to Koster in those days before campaign contribution limits were removed.

The company's troubled history was noted in the Aug. 2 Turner Report:

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."

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