From the Associated Press
Missouri Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder says thousands of dollars of campaign funds were misspent by former aides, and he has referred the matter to the U.S. attorney's office.
Kinder's gubernatorial campaign released a statement Friday saying that an internal investigation found that former contractors had prepared incorrect reports to the Missouri Ethics Commission "to conceal unauthorized payments and expenditures."
Kinder's statement did not identify the former contractors at issue.
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A spokeswoman for the U.S. attorney's office in St. Louis said its policy is to neither confirm nor deny the existence of investigations.
Kinder's campaign says it was tipped off to "financial discrepancies" dating back several years shortly after he announced in July that he was entering the governor's race.
Kinder broke with his longtime consultant David Barklage earlier this year after Barklage said he supported one of Kinder's rivals for the GOP gubernatorial nomination, John Brunner. Several of Kinder's amended reports list Barklage as a recipient of funds, but it could not immediately determined how the reports had been altered.
Barklage responded with his own statement Friday night, saying his company “is the one who first reported potential discrepancies to the Kinder organization last year.
“Our company also initiated an audit of the books prior to ending our relationship which was taken over by the campaign after we left. Our company did no financial reporting for Lt. Governor Kinder in either the 2008 or 2012 the campaign, nor any time since 2012. Our firm ended its long-term relationship with the lieutenant governor when the lieutenant governor decided to run for governor which created a conflict of interest for the firm.”
Here’s the statement from Kinder’s campaign:
JEFFERSON CITY — After announcing that he was running for Governor, Lt. Governor Peter Kinder and his campaign team were notified by a third-party of potential financial discrepancies involving former independent contractors to the Friends of Peter Kinder Committee. These discrepancies appeared on previous Friends of Peter Kinder financial reports that were filed with the Missouri Ethics Commission (“MEC”).
Lt. Governor Kinder and his campaign team immediately began an internal investigation and discovered that former independent contractors had prepared incorrect MEC reports to conceal unauthorized payments and expenditures from the Friends of Peter Kinder Committee. This activity took place without the consent of Lt. Governor Kinder or his current campaign team. The Kinder campaign immediately notified the MEC and federal legal authorities, fully disclosed the situation, and cooperated with the authorities.
Consistent with the advice of the MEC, the Kinder campaign closed the Friends of Peter Kinder Committee and formed a new committee in its place: Missourians for Peter Kinder. The campaign subsequently retained a St. Louis-based CPA to perform a comprehensive forensic review of the Friends of Peter Kinder financial reports.
Lt. Governor Kinder and his team have worked diligently with the MEC and other appropriate authorities to ensure that this matter has been fully disclosed and properly handled. All amendments to the Friends of Peter Kinder Committee reports have been prepared by the CPA, also a former IRS agent, and filed with the MEC. The campaign’s operations and team have otherwise not been impacted by the situation.
Out of respect for law enforcement, Lt. Governor Kinder and his campaign team decline to make any further comment at this time.