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Democratic lieutenant governor candidate's contributions questioned

Friday, October 17, 2008 | 6:14 p.m. CDT; updated 11:15 a.m. CDT, Wednesday, October 29, 2008

JEFFERSON CITY — Democratic lieutenant governor's candidate Sam Page scrambled to change his state finance report Friday after listing a check from a Canadian company, an apparent violation of a federal law banning foreign political donations.

Page received a $10,000 contribution Oct. 4 listed as coming from "Waverly Glen,'' a medical equipment company based in Vaughan, Ontario.

After media inquiries about the contribution, Page's campaign filed an amended finance report Friday describing the check as coming from Waverly Glen, A Prism Medical Company' with a St. Louis address.

Page spokesman Bret Bender described the original finance report as "a clerical error.''

"We are intending to keep the check,'' Bender said.

But a campaign spokesman for Republican Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder said the switch to the St. Louis address "sounds like an excuse'' for "a very disturbing situation.''

"The fact is a foreign national is listed as a contributor to the campaign, that's a very serious concern,'' said Kinder spokesman Paul Sloca. "It's a violation of federal law, and we believe an independent party should look very closely into this.''

U.S. law prohibits contributions from foreign individuals or companies in federal, state and local elections.

Later Friday, former U.S. attorney Todd Graves, a Republican supporter of Kinder, filed complaints with the Federal Election Commission and the U.S. Justice Department alleging Page's receipt of the contribution was a "knowing and willful violation'' of federal law.

Rather than correcting a mere clerical error on a contribution, the complaint claims that Page "attempted to conceal its foreign source'' by revising his state finance report to list a St. Louis address for what actually is a Canadian company.

Bender said Page had been working from a fundraiser calling sheet that listed an executive at Prism Medical Ltd. in St. Louis. The check that arrived was drawn from a Buffalo, N.Y., bank and had no address printed on it for the payer. It came in a Waverley Glen envelope that listed a Canadian return address, which is what a campaign staffer entered into the finance report submitted to the Missouri Ethics Commission.

Charley Wallace, president of Prism Medical Services USA in St. Louis, said he talked with Page and directed the contribution to be made. The money came from his Missouri-based company, Wallace said, though it may have been processed in Canada, home of the parent company Prism Medical Ltd.

Waverley Glen is simply a product line sold by Prism Medical, Wallace said. Page's campaign finance reports left out the last "e'' in Waverley.

"Everything is proper in that it was donated by the U.S. entity,'' Wallace said.

He added: "We were trying to make a simple donation to a guy that supports safe patient handling laws, and it really backfired because of an envelope that came out of Canada. I can see how it can get confusing.''

Page, a state House member from suburban St. Louis, held a demonstration during this year's legislative session of mechanical lift equipment used for patients. Prism Medical makes such equipment.

 


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