- Associated Press - Monday, October 31, 2016

ST. LOUIS (AP) - Jason Kander’s Missouri Senate campaign said Monday that it sent a $25,000 check to the U.S. Treasury after learning a Massachusetts law firm may have violated federal election law by reimbursing its partners for their political donations.

According to a report in the Boston Globe, the Democratic challenger to Republican Sen. Roy Blunt received a combined $25,000 in donations from Thornton Law Firm on May 14, 2015. Kander spokesman Chris Hayden said the campaign became aware of the situation Sunday and immediately gave the money to the Treasury.

“We thought it was appropriate to give the money to taxpayers rather than return it to the firm,” Hayden said in an email.

Recent polls show that the race in Missouri between Blunt, 66, and Kander, Missouri’s 35-year-old secretary of state, is a virtual tossup.

“The Kander campaign unloaded contributions from out-of-state trial lawyers because they clearly realized they had participated in an illegal scheme,” Blunt spokesman Tate O’Connor said in an email statement.

Kander isn’t alone in returning money that came from Thornton lawyers. Democratic New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan is returning $51,000 in donations to her U.S. Senate and gubernatorial campaigns. Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Russ Feingold in Wisconsin returned a $45,000 donation, his campaign said Sunday.

In April, Blunt’s campaign committee gave a children’s group $11,000 - the same amount he received from the political action committee of former House Speaker Dennis Hastert. That was soon after Hastert was sentenced to prison for violating banking laws in a case that revealed he paid hush money after sexually abusing teenagers while a wrestling coach decades ago.

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