Nixon calls for stricter donation laws, receives thousands in contributions

The governor simultaneously demanded a bill tightening campaign contributions.

Gov. Jay Nixon delivers his State of the State address to members of the Missouri Legislature in the House Chambers. Nixon presented his 2014 fiscal year budget, which amounted to $25.7 billon. Maneater File Photo

Gov. Jay Nixon, who called for "strict campaign contribution limits" in last week's State of the State address, received more than $261,000 in contributions between Dec. 31 and Jan. 30.

The single largest donation came from Ameren Missouri, a power company that serves much of eastern and central Missouri, including Columbia, St. Louis, Jefferson City and Cape Girardeau, according to records filed with the Missouri Ethics Commission.

Only one of the contributions in the last month came from an organization registered with the commission as a political action committee. Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Kansas City PAC for Missouri donated $10,000 on Jan. 7.

The remainder of the contributions came from private companies, including $10,000 from the Ford Motor Company received by Nixon's committee Dec. 31. Nixon visited Detroit on Jan. 16 to meet with leaders from both Ford and General Motors.

The Associated Press reported Thursday that Nixon received $10,000 on the same day as the address from World Wide Technology Inc., a St. Louis-based technology firm, to pay for Nixon's inauguration.

Both Nixon's office and World Wide Technology could not be reached for comment.

"Each time a wealthy individual or business or special interest sends a check for $20,000 or $50,000 or $100,000 to a candidate, the public's trust erodes a little bit more," Nixon said in the address Jan. 28. "Eventually, if we continue on this path, there will be no trust left at all."

Nixon received eight contributions of $10,000, two of $20,000, three of $25,000 and one of $50,000 in just under a month.

According to the 30-day after election report Nixon's campaign filed with the MEC, Nixon received nearly $740,000 from Oct. 26 to Dec. 1. Dave Spence, Nixon's competitor in the gubernatorial election, reported $40,905 in contributions in the same time period. According to MEC files, donations from December and January place the final contribution tally at over $1 million.

During his tenure as Attorney General of Missouri, Nixon advocated campaign donation limits. In 1999, he appeared before the U.S. Supreme Court arguing in Nixon v. Shrink Missouri Government PAC that federal limits on campaign contributions also applied to contributions to state offices.

Missouri voters first adopted campaign contribution limits in 1994. In 2008, a Republican-led General Assembly repealed contribution limits in the state.

In his address, Nixon said he would do "everything in his power" to get campaign contribution limits on the ballot if the legislature did not send him a bill tackling the issue.

"The single most destructive force to our system is the unlimited sums of money pouring into the campaign accounts of candidates seeking public office," he said in the speech.

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