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Political Donations

February 13, 2001
Two Feb. 11 articles, "Bush's Ties to Enron Chief Attract Growing Scrutiny" and "Drug Kingpin's Release Adds to Clemency Uproar," are further evidence of our broken democracy. We need to get big money out of politics. Does anyone believe that Bill Clinton's clemency decision was not affected by political donations? President Bush received over $500,000 from Enron's chief plus flew on Enron jets. Bush turns a deaf ear to California's energy woes but lobbied Pennsylvania Gov. Thomas J. Ridge [in 1997]
November 5, 2012 | By Chris Megerian and Maura Dolan, Los Angeles Times
SACRAMENTO - An Arizona group was scrambling late Sunday to keep secret the individuals behind its $11-million donation to a California campaign fund after California's Supreme Court, in a rare and dramatic weekend action, ordered it to turn over records that could identify the donors. The order followed days of frenzied legal battles between California regulators, who have tried to get documents related to the anonymous contribution before election day, and attorneys for the Arizona nonprofit who have resisted delivering them.
February 7, 2012 | By Kathleen Hennessey
The Obama campaign is returning more than $200,000 in campaign donations from relatives of a fugitive and casino baron believed to be tied to political corruption in Mexico. The decision to return the money came after the contributions were flagged by the New York Times. The newspaper reported late Monday that the money was donated by family members of Juan Jose Rojas "Pepe" Cardona, who is believed to have fled to Mexico after facing drug and fraud charges in the United States. Cardona's brothers, Carlos Cardona and Alberto Rojas, both of Chicago, began donating money to and soliciting contributions for the Obama campaign last fall.
July 26, 2012
Re "Free speech and fried chicken," Editorial, July 24 I don't agree with Chick-fil-A's anti-gay political donations, but if you disagree with a company's stance, you can choose not to purchase its product or invest money in it. To think that Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino wants to deny Chick-fil-A a business license simply because it exercised its free-speech rights is offensive. That he would use his power to stifle that speech is the epitome of discrimination, especially because there has been no indication that Chick-fil-A has ever refused service because of sexual orientation.
December 6, 1998
Re "Supervisors Approve Newhall Ranch Project," Nov. 25. I am writing to praise your coverage of the Newhall Ranch project, especially this article in which the political donations from Newhall Land & Farming Co. contributed to each of the five Los Angeles County supervisors were listed: Mike Antonovich, $69,825; Yvonne Braithwaite Burke, $33,150; Don Knabe, $2,759; Gloria Molina, $12,300, and Zev Yaroslavsky, $18,000. This is crucial information for the public to know. As we are able to follow the money, we the voters will be able to understand the driving forces behind urban sprawl and vote accordingly.
April 11, 2014
Re "Big spenders," Letters, April 8 One letter writer asserts that exposing the Koch brothers' financial involvement in various conservative causes is mudslinging. He claims their political spending is no different than that of major Democratic donors such as George Soros and unions. What the writer fails to acknowledge is that the Kochs fund a web of foundations and organizations created by and for themselves to promote their own views. Their political groups are given populist-sounding names - such as Americans for Prosperity - that distract from their real purpose, which is to protect the Kochs' extraordinary personal fortune.
April 12, 1989 | KARL SCHOENBERGER, Times Staff Writer
Saying he was "keenly aware" of his "political and moral responsibility," Japanese Prime Minister Noboru Takeshita acknowledged before Parliament on Tuesday that he received nearly $1 million in political donations from the group of companies at the center of a bribery scandal that is shaking his government. Takeshita calmly rejected calls by the opposition that he resign, however, and said he could not run away from his obligation to enact reforms. "For the sake of restoring trust in politics, what is most important is to proceed with political reforms and settle the matter legally and politically as soon as possible," he said.
June 21, 2013 | By Chris Megerian, Los Angeles Times
SACRAMENTO -- Ann Ravel, California's top campaign finance watchdog, was nominated to the Federal Election Commission by President Obama on Friday. As chairwoman of the state's Fair Political Practices Commission for the last two years, Ravel has been a consistent critic of the federal government's unwillingness to crack down on secret money in politics. She also received nationwide attention for trying to uncover the donors behind an $11-million contribution that was funneled into California campaigns last year by an Arizona-based nonprofit, Americans for Responsible Leadership.
November 26, 2013 | By Michael Hiltzik
Way too late to avert scandal, the Internal Revenue Service has set forth new guidelines defining political activities by nonprofits. These are activities for which donations aren't eligible for tax exemptions or donor confidentiality.  What scandal, you ask? It's not the bogus scandal about the IRS targeting "tea party" and "patriot" groups for special scrutiny. It's the real scandal that these groups or any others were trying to get tax breaks and anonymity for political donations in the first place.  Unsurprisingly, conservative groups instantly put up a big squeal about the IRS rules; after all, they're the ones who have exploited the murky old rules most assiduously.
July 13, 2012
The Federal Elections Commission cleared the way last month for political campaigns to collect small contributions from mobile-phone users through text messages, a proposal backed by both presidential campaigns and a slew of grass-roots groups. One crucial faction, however, isn't so thrilled. That would be the wireless phone companies. The companies want a guarantee that they won't be held responsible for illegal contributions - a fear that seems to be exaggerated, but one that the commission should dispel swiftly.
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