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Montana candidate refunds contributions from minors

The Helena (Montana) Indpendent Record reports:

Unable to prove that some campaign donations from students actually came from their own pockets and not their parents' bank accounts, Republican gubernatorial candidate Pat Davison's campaign on Friday refunded $9,460 in contributions to 26 donors. Scot Crockett, Davison's campaign manager, said the campaign was in full compliance with state election laws, but decided to return the money. The refunded money amounts to 3.6 percent of the $259,327 total that Davison has raised as of Dec. 31. ‘‘And while we have not knowingly received any inappropriate contributions, we are refunding 26 contributors totaling $9,460 in order to avoid any appearance that this campaign is not fully committed to complete compliance with both the letter and the spirit of state campaign finance laws.''

Refunds were sent to a list of parents whose children donated. The parents included CPAs, a physician, a pilot, a retired timber company executive and an oil and gas businessman.

Davison's campaign actually encouraged the practice of giving through children.

A donation card that accompanied a Sept. 18 fund-raising solicitation signed by Davison said: Contribution limits: Individuals can contribute up to $400 (per person or $800 per couple). If one check is written for two people, you must indicate in the memo section' on the check the name and amount for each person. Children and friends can contribute up to $400 each. List all names in the memo section.' ''