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Politician Refutes Claim that He Accepted IAFF Campaign Donation

Kansas City Star via YellowBrix

July 30, 2010

KANSAS CITY – Fred Arbanas wants to make one thing perfectly clear — he never accepted a campaign donation from Local 42 of the International Association of Fire Fighters.

A July report filed by Taxpayer’s Unlimited, the firefighter’s political committee, listed a $2,500 contribution to Arbanas.

Arbansas, of course, is in the race of his political life versus Terry Riley, a current Kansas City Councilman, to keep his 3rd District At-Large spot on the Jackson County Legislature. Arbanas has served since the job was created, beginning in 1973.

But Arbanas said Thursday that he returned the check to Taxpayer’s Unlimited once he learned in early July that a politically-charged proposal from Local 42 was coming before the Legislature.

“I can’t accept a donation when there’s an issue before us,” Arbanas said.

Arbanas said he appreciated the check and the firefighters’ endorsement.

Sherwood Smith of Taxpayer’s Unlimited confirmed Thursday that Arbanas returned the check. Smith added that no contribution from his group is connected to a single issue. And the group’s decision to endorse Arbanas was made weeks before the union ever brought to the Legislature its proposal for a new collective bargaining system.

That proposal, by the way, has been put on hold for a bit as the county seeks an outside legal opinion. Jay Haden of the county counselor’s office said this week that nothing will occur until next month.