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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 is a freelance journalist and former political reporter at St. Louis Public Radio.