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Medical research tax campaign spending topped $2.3 million

Updated: 2013-12-06T00:32:44Z

By MIKE HENDRICKS

The Kansas City Star

More than $2.3 million was spent by campaign committees for and against the Jackson County medical research tax, which lost by a 5-to-1 ratio at the polls last month.

The spending was far from a record for a local ballot issue campaign. But campaign finance reports filed to meet Thursday’s deadline solidified its place in local election history as one of the more expensive.

Proponents spent $1.9 million to push Question 1, which would have raised the county sales tax by a half cent for 20 years.

That’s double what the Committee for Research Treatment and Cures had budgeted for the election to fund the proposed Jackson County Institute for Translational Medicine.

That budget was revised after a well-financed opposition appeared unexpectedly on the scene. Those three campaign committees reported spending $444,000 for commercials, billboards and other election-related expenses, according to the documents on file at the Missouri Ethics Commission.

Leading the way was Citizens for Responsible Research, formed by Springfield attorney Brad Bradshaw. It spent $244,602 on the campaign.

The next biggest spender was Citizens for Fairness, whose major source of funding was a nonprofit group that, like Citizens for Fairness, was created shortly before the election and whose backers were never disclosed.

Citizens for Fairness said it spent $186,000 on the election.

The Committee to Stop a Bad Cure, founded by former Kansas City Star journalist Jim Fitzpatrick, reported expenditures of $13,351.

To reach Mike Hendricks, call 816-234-4738 or send email to mhendricks@kcstar.com.

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