Outside donors aiding 158th candidates

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- Two of the three candidates for the Missouri House of Representatives from the 158th District received substantial portions of their campaign contributions from donors outside of the district during the most recent campaign finance reporting period.

Nathan Cooper, a Cape Girardeau lawyer, collected at least $6,760 from sources outside of the 158th District, which covers most of the city of Cape Girardeau. Such donations accounted for 51.8 percent of the $13,045 in cash contributions he received from April 1 through June 30.

During the same period, Phil Brinson, the owner of Buckner Brewing Co. in Cape Girardeau, took a minimum 38.7 percent of his money from outside donors, or $4,750 of the $12,270 he collected, according to his report.

Cape Girardeau Central High School social studies teacher Eugene "Pete" Frazier III received a mere $450 from nondistrict sources for 11.2 percent of the $4,009 he raised in the last period.

All three candidates are Republicans running in the Aug. 3 primary for the seat being vacated by House Majority Leader Jason Crowell, R-Cape Girardeau. No Democrats are seeking the office, so the primary winner will be unopposed in the Nov. 2 general election.

Cooper accepted seven donations for $325 -- each $25 more than allowed by state law for a House race. Cooper said Tuesday a Missouri Ethics Commission official recently told him the individual contribution cap had been raised to $325 earlier this year.

While the commission increased the caps for some public offices in January, director of compliance Mike Reid said the maximum donation for House candidates was left unchanged at $300.

Candidates who accept contributions over the limit can be subject to a fine of $1,000 plus the excess amounts. However, sanctions usually aren't imposed if the situation is quickly corrected. Cooper said he would immediately refund the amounts donors gave in violation of the cap.

Double reporting possibleBrinson's report also contains discrepancies. The report lists four donors who each made multiple contributions for a combined $850 over the legal limit.

Those donors and several others are each listed as having given two contributions for the same amounts on the same days, so a possible explanation is that those contributions were inadvertently counted twice. If that is the case, then Brinson overreported his donations by $1,950, inflating his fund raising during the last disclosure period by almost 16 percent.

Brinson's campaign manager, Mike Woelk, said the campaign was previously unaware of the errors. Woelk speculated that it was a case of double reporting. He said the campaign would rectify any errors.

Cooper has raised about a third more money than Brinson during the course of the campaign. Cooper had collected $87,089 since starting his bid for office and had $67,770 in the bank as of June 30. Brinson had raised $65,075 and was left with $45,911.

Frazier's fund-raising efforts have lagged well behind those of his opponents. He had collected a total of $11,578, of which just $3,469 remained.

mpowers@semissourian.com

(573) 635-4608

$300 DONATIONS

Contributors who gave the maximum donation of $300 to candidates for the 158th District seat in the House of Representatives during the reporting period of April 1 through June 30. Listed are donor and city of residence:Phil Brinson, R-Cape Girardeau

Steve Woods, Sikeston; *Don King, Sikeston; *Brenda King, Sikeston; Saffron Pan-Asian Restaurant, Cape Girardeau; Su Hill, Cape Girardeau; Jane Clark, Cape Girardeau; Maveline Cobb, Los Gatos, Calif.; Nelda Davis, Manchester; Missouri Restaurant Association; Steve Bradford, Cape Girardeau; Dana Kollars, Baver Bay, Minn.; Debra Dehen, Grandville, Mich., *Terri Foley, Cape Girardeau; *Cody Fuchs, Sikeston.Nathan Cooper, R-Cape Girardeau

El Mariachi Inc., Farmington; Partners for Leadership, Springfield; Vouchex, St. Louis; *Susan Littleton, Austin, Texas; *Jim White, Cape Girardeau; Missouri Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors, Jefferson City; Missouri Land Title Committee, Jefferson City; Anheuser Busch Cos. Inc., St. Louis; Busch Entertainment Corp., St. Louis; Jim Maurer, Cape Girardeau; James Bogle, Cape Girardeau; Ruth Knote, Cape Girardeau; John Tlapek, Cape Girardeau; *James Allen, Cape Girardeau; *Pat Allen, Cape Girardeau; *Celebrations by Request, Cape Girardeau; *Ewindbigler Design, Cape Girardeau; *Erin Windbigler, Jackson.Eugene "Pete" Frazier III, R-Cape Girardeau

G. Keith Deimund, Cape Girardeau; L. Taylor Bahn, Cape Girardeau; Sandy Donley, Cape Girardeau; McLane Investments Inc., Cape Girardeau; Commercial Real Estate Specialists, Cape Girardeau.

*These donors each gave more than the legal limit, according to the candidates' finance disclosure reports. Cooper plans to immediately refund the excess amounts. Brinson's campaign speculated some donations may have been inadvertently counted twice.

SOURCE: Missouri Ethics Commission

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