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Koster makes public his taxes, and calls for Greitens to do the same

Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster speaks at the Truman Dinner, the Missouri Democratic Party's annual gathering.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

In a move reminiscent of the presidential contest, Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster — Missouri’s Democratic nominee for governor — has released his last four years of tax returns.  And he is calling for Republican rival Eric Greitens to do the same.

“We believe it is important to voters that Mr. Greitens release the same information the attorney general has to give voters an understanding of any conflicts he may have if elected governor,” the campaign said in a statement. “The question is, will Eric Greitens blink now?”

Koster’s income declined from 2012 through 2015, the tax years he released, largely because of a drop in his investment income.  His total income in 2012 was $240,644, but had dropped to $113,666 last year.

Koster doesn’t own property — renting quarters in Jefferson City and St. Louis — having sold his house in 2013 (his taxes document the sale).  But he  does invest in a company known as the Eagle Fund, a private capital firm based in Clayton. A brother, Matthew Koster, is a partner.

Aside from his investments, Koster’s only income comes from his attorney general post. His tax returns did not show any charitable contributions, but a spokesman said Koster “doesn't believe charity is about credit.”

“He chose not to take a deduction on his taxes for his charitable giving,’’ spokesman David Turner said. “He gave $4,700 to the Southside Early Childhood Center in 2014, and $500 to Upward Bound in 2015.”  Receipts documenting his donations were provided.

Turner added that Koster “also gives cash donations to the Catholic Church, which are kept anonymous.”

His federal tax payments ranged from $47,573 in 2012 to $21,179 in 2015.

All told, Koster provided copies of 252 pages of his four years of tax filings, including his work sheets and his state tax returns.

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.