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February 19, 2014 | By Patrick McGreevy
SACRAMENTO - California's campaign finance watchdog agency on Wednesday rescinded warning letters that had been sent to state Sen. Kevin De Leon (D-Los Angeles) and U.S. Rep. Janice Hahn (D-Calif.) regarding disclosure of political spending. The state Fair Political Practices Commission had issued the warning letters based on information provided by the secretary of State that some campaign reports in 2012 had not been filed on time by the two candidates. But both campaigns have since provided proof that the political spending reports had been filed, according Gary Winuk, the chief of enforcement for the FPPC.
February 14, 2014 | By Meg James and Joe Flint
Comcast Corp. already produces movies, television shows and national and local news programs while operating theme parks and the largest pay-TV system in the U.S. And now, with one bold stroke, the Philadelphia conglomerate could dominate the flow of information and entertainment into American homes with historically unprecedented power. Comcast's proposed $45.2-billion takeover of Time Warner Cable would allow it to provide television, telephone and Internet service and even home security systems to nearly 30 million homes across the country.  ON LOCATION: Where the cameras roll   The company's reach would encompass the nation's largest markets, among them Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Washington D.C. and San Francisco.
February 9, 2014 | By Kenneth R. Harney
WASHINGTON - Got problems with the company that services your home mortgage - the one that collects your payments, keeps track of your escrow account and lets you know when you're late? So your monthly numbers don't look right? You got blown off by servicing personnel when you tried to get inaccuracies in your account corrected? Well, move over. You've got lots of grumpy company. As of Jan. 31, just under half of the 187,818 complaints filed with the federal watchdog Consumer Financial Protection Bureau concerned mortgage foul-ups, and the vast majority of these involved servicing, loan modification and foreclosure activities by servicers.
January 25, 2014 | By Richard A. Serrano
WASHINGTON - He was selling vegetables in Yemen at age 16 when he first embraced jihad, rising quickly in Al Qaeda and eventually being tapped for a Sept. 11, 2001, suicide operation in Asia that was scrapped in favor of the airplane attacks in New York and at the Pentagon, according to U.S. intelligence records. He served as a trusted bodyguard to Osama bin Laden, and his sister became the terrorist leader's fourth wife. But the militant's career came to an end 12 years ago when he was captured near the mountains of Tora Bora by Pakistani forces and sent to the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, becoming another nameless, faceless "high-risk" terrorism suspect with little hope of release.
January 23, 2014 | By Ken Dilanian
WASHINGTON - In the week since President Obama called for ending the National Security Agency's bulk collection of U.S. telephone data "as it currently exists," telephone carriers have uploaded customer calling records to NSA computers just as they have since the program was created after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. The daily transfer of Americans' telephone toll records to a government database is likely to continue at least for the next 18 months despite the president's speech last Friday and a growing debate over the legality and effectiveness of the once-secret operation.
January 21, 2014 | By Ben Welsh
The Los Angeles city Fire Commission on Tuesday named a lawyer from the office of Mayor Eric Garcetti as the Fire Department's new internal watchdog. The independent assessor position was created by voters in 2009 to audit the handling of misconduct complaints against LAFD employees. It was prompted by a wave of discrimination and harassment allegations that cost taxpayers nearly $20 million in legal payouts over several years. In a unanimous vote after emerging from a closed-door session, the commission appointed Sue Stengel.
January 19, 2014 | By Howard Blume
The watchdog committee for the Los Angeles school district's $1-billion iPad program is scheduled to fold, raising questions about oversight of the ongoing effort to provide every student, teacher and administrator with a computer. The decision to disband the panel as of April was announced last week by Board of Education President Richard Vladovic. "I think there needs to be a conclusion of some sort," he said in an interview. He also insisted that all necessary oversight would continue.
January 3, 2014 | By Shan Li
A Labor Department watchdog has called for a change in the way sensitive weekly jobs data is released to the public, recommending an end to the long practice of giving information to journalists first. The decades-long "lockup" method, in which reporters "locked" into a room are given reports and forbidden to send out stories before an appointed time, must be tightened or abolished altogether, according to an audit from the department's office of inspector general. The audit could lead to a change in the practice of releasing market-moving economic data to the media first.
December 23, 2013 | By Joe Flint
Earlier this month, Roberts Broadcasting sold three TV stations to ION Media for $7.75 million. The deal is tiny compared with the recent acquisitions of Belo Broadcasting by Gannett Co. and Local TV Holdings by Tribune Co., both of which were for billions of dollars. However, it is significant for another reason -- the Roberts Broadcasting stations are the last that were owned and operated by an African American entity, according to media watchdog Free Press. "There are now zero black-owned and operated full-power TV stations in our country," said Joseph Torres and Derek Turner of Free Press, which blamed the FCC's relaxing of TV ownership regulations for the current situation.
December 19, 2013 | David Lazarus
Your personal information isn't safe. That doesn't apply only to the 40 million Target shoppers whose credit and debit card numbers may now be in the hands of hackers. It's a trend that's been clear for many years: The stewards of consumers' personal info - businesses, hospitals, government agencies - are woefully negligent when it comes to safeguarding data. Too often, sensitive computer files are unencrypted or left on laptops that get stolen. Aggressive moves by hackers are met with only the most cursory security upgrades.
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