Koster receives campaign boost from former GOP speaker

– Just days after announcing his pledge to raise more than $400,000 to help Missouri Democrats in their effort pick up seats in the General Assembly, Attorney General Chris Koster reported a campaign contribution from an unlikely source: A Republican.

On Wednesday, Koster reported a $7,500 contribution from former GOP House Speaker Steve Tilley, now a lobbyist in Jefferson City.

Tilley’s donation came four days after Koster announced his pledge to raise more than $100,000 annually for House and Senate Democrats. A source with knowledge of the transaction said Tilley’s pledge was made before Koster’s speech to the Missouri Democratic Party’s Jefferson Jackson Dinner in St. Louis on Saturday.

The move has struck a nerve with some Republicans, who are concerned about Tilley helping Koster raise even a dime as Koster works to fulfill his pledge and concurrently raise funds for his likely 2016 campaign for governor.

“Very disappointed to see money raised by a Republican Speaker going to a Democrat [Attorney General] who recently pledged to fund [Democratic] Legislative races,” Senate President Pro Tem Tom Dempsey said on Twitter.

Tilley’s donation is small in comparison to some of the GOP money Koster accepted in 2012. Koster received $250,000 from Republican mega-donor Rex Sinquefield that year, as well as $10,000 from William Danforth and $50,000 from GOP donor Sam Fox, a close ally of Republican state Auditor Tom Schweich (who is also considering a 2016 gubernatorial campaign).

Tilley has contributed to Democrats in the past. Last year, Tilley contributed to Jamilah Nasheed, a St. Louis Democrat, for her state Senate campaign. Both Nasheed and Koster are personal friends of Tilley.

After leaving public office last year and with no plans to seek it again in the near future, Tilley still has an active campaign count. In April, Tilley reported more than $1 million on hand.

Correction: A precious version of this story mis-attributed a donation to Koster from Jack Danforth.