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Political Donations

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.
April 22, 2012 | By Shane Goldmacher and Anthony York, Los Angeles Times
SACRAMENTO — As the sun set behind Monterey Bay on a cool night last year, dozens of the state's top lawmakers and lobbyists ambled onto the 17th fairway at Pebble Beach for a round of glow-in-the-dark golf. With luminescent balls soaring into the sky, the annual fundraiser known as the Speaker's Cup was in full swing. Lawmakers, labor-union champions and lobbyists gather each year at the storied course to schmooze, show their skill on the links and rejuvenate at a 22,000-square-foot spa. The affair, which typically raises more than $1 million for California Democrats, has been sponsored for more than a decade by telecommunications giant AT&T.
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.
May 25, 2011 | By Kim Geiger, Washington Bureau
House Republicans voted Wednesday to try to block the Obama administration from forcing companies bidding on federal contracts to say how they spend money to influence elections. The measure was adopted roughly along party lines as an amendment to a massive defense bill. It was intended to preempt an executive order that would require companies seeking to do business with the government to disclose their political donations, including to groups that use anonymous contributions — such as the Chamber of Commerce.
April 23, 2011 | By Noam N. Levey and Kim Geiger, Washington Bureau
Despite mounting calls for greater transparency, only a few of the country's 75 leading energy, healthcare and financial services corporations fully disclose political spending, according to a review of company records and state and federal campaign finance reports . While complying with legal requirements to report direct donations to candidates, the vast majority of these companies — many of which are seeking legislative favors from the...
February 19, 2011 | By Kim Geiger and Noam N. Levey, Washington Bureau
Retail giant Target Corp., which last summer sparked a customer and shareholder backlash over corporate donations to a controversial conservative political group, has quietly issued a new policy to tighten oversight and restrict how the company's funds are used for political purposes. The move highlighted the risk of controversy that has accompanied the growing practice of using corporate funds to influence the political process, both in election campaigns and government policy issues.
February 6, 2011 | Cathleen Decker
The big party in downtown Los Angeles Tuesday was meant to unveil the proposed Farmers Field football stadium, which its developer hopes will link Staples Center and a refurbished convention facility into an entertainment destination spectacular enough to draw tourists from everywhere. An airship idled overhead, expensive champagne flowed, politicians and titans posed with footballs -- their presence aiding developer AEG's efforts to frame the proposal as a foregone conclusion, a train easing out of the station.
November 10, 2010 | Tim Rutten
The most troubling thing about the Keith Olbermann affair is just how quaint and beside the point the NBC network rule he broke now appears. The MSNBC cable news commentator returned to the air Tuesday night after a two-day suspension without pay for violating an NBC rule against contributing to political candidates without permission. The former sports broadcaster turned rancorous liberal shouter gave a total of $7,200 to three Democratic congressional candidates in the midterm elections.
November 8, 2010 | By Melissa Maerz, Los Angeles Times
Reporting from New York ? Keith Olbermann will return to MSNBC on Tuesday, marking the end of a short suspension from the network for making unauthorized political donations. "After several days of deliberation and discussion, I have determined that suspending Keith through and including Monday night's program is an appropriate punishment for his violation of our policy," MSNBC President Phil Griffin said in a statement released late Sunday. "We look forward to having him back on the air Tuesday night.
September 24, 2010 | By Michael A. Memoli, Tribune Washington Bureau
Faced with united Republican opposition, the Senate again failed to advance a proposal Thursday that would have required corporations to more fully disclose political donations. The vote against invoking cloture was the second failed attempt by the Senate to take up the so-called Disclose Act, written in response to the Supreme Court ruling that allowed unions and corporations to spend unlimited funds on political activities. The House passed a similar bill in June. In the Senate, the final vote was 59 to 39, short of the 60 votes required.
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