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Politics

Outside Groups Paid for Mo. Officials’ Travel

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Missouri Capitol
Election Returns

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) __ Outside groups paid nearly $30,000
for the travel of Missouri statewide elected officials last year,
sending the attorney general to Asia, the secretary of state to
Washington, D.C., and the lieutenant governor to New York and
Florida.
Reports filed with the Missouri Ethics Commission and obtained
Friday by The Associated Press show most of the travel costs last
year were for Democratic Attorney General Chris Koster, who was
part of a delegation that went to Israel and who took two trips
with a fellowship program to China and India and to New Orleans.
Koster, a Democrat, reported that the American Israel Friendship
League paid $3,000 for an early 2010 trip when he was part of a
delegation with the National Association of Attorneys General that
went to Israel to meet with government officials. In July, Koster
left for a roughly weeklong trip in Asia for which the Aspen
Institute-Rodel Fellowships in Public Leadership program paid
$19,423. The fellowship also paid $2,780 for travel costs in
November for the trip to New Orleans.
The two-yearlong fellowship program is for young elected
officials, and participants are selected by invitation. The program
involves three weekend seminars and weeklong foreign trips in Asia
and the Middle East. Koster indicated both fellowship trips were
for educational seminars and included a memo from the institute
that itemized the expenses and included airfare, meals and lodging
and ground transportation.
Missouri elected officials are required to file annual financial
disclosure statements in May with the state Ethics Commission. The
reports include property and investments they own and the jobs they
and family members hold. They also are required to report gifts
they have received that are worth at least $200 and list
out-of-state travel from the previous year that was not paid for by
the government or family members.
Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder, a Republican, reported two November
trips. The Federalist Society paid $2,223 for Kinder to spend three
days in New York for debates about the federal health care law.
Later that month, another group paid $1,325 in expenses when Kinder
spoke at an Alzheimer’s disease summit in Naples, Fla.

Copyright Associated Press

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