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Schweich's campaign returns money to major donors, including Danforth

photo of Thomas Schweich
Provided by the auditor's office

The campaign operation for the late state Auditor Tom Schweich, who killed himself, is reporting that it has returned more than $370,000 in campaign donations, including $75,000 to Clayton business magnate Sam Fox and his wife.

The donors seeking the refunds include former Sen. John C. Danforth, Schweich’s mentor, who was repaid $20,000; Peter Herschend, who owns Silver Dollar City, $25,000; and Steve Trulake of St. Louis, $50,000.

Ssveral of Schweich’s relatives also received refunds for their contributions. Schweich, a Republican, had been running for governor when he committed suicide Feb. 26.

The refunds leave the Schweichcampaign operation with $725,248 remaining in the bank. If the remaining donors agree, that money could be doled out to other candidates’ campaigns.

The number of returned donations is unusual for a now-defunct campaign, but some Republicans note privately that the circumstances are unusual in this case. Schweich  was the first Missouri statewide official to kill himself in 170 years.

According to the campaign’s final report filed today, it spent $671,259 during the past three months — the bulk of it since Schweich’s death.

In addition to donation refunds, the campaign also paid outstanding bills for goods and services, including severance pay for some workers and contractors.

Schweich had raised $394,249 since Jan. 1, with the last donations received on Feb. 24, two days before his death.

Jo Mannies has been covering Missouri politics and government for almost four decades, much of that time as a reporter and columnist at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. She was the first woman to cover St. Louis City Hall, was the newspaper’s second woman sportswriter in its history, and spent four years in the Post-Dispatch Washington Bureau. She joined the St. Louis Beacon in 2009. She has won several local, regional and national awards, and has covered every president since Jimmy Carter. She scared fellow first-graders in the late 1950s when she showed them how close Alaska was to Russia and met Richard M. Nixon when she was in high school. She graduated from Valparaiso University in northwest Indiana, and was the daughter of a high school basketball coach. She is married and has two grown children, both lawyers. She’s a history and movie buff, cultivates a massive flower garden, and bakes banana bread regularly for her colleagues.

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