Harris makes issue of Cooley's campaign donors

Jessica M. Karmasek Sep. 8, 2010, 11:00am


SAN FRANCISCO (Legal Newsline) - Democratic candidate for California attorney general Kamala Harris is calling for "immediate action" following revelations that her opponent has accepted campaign contributions from those he's currently investigating.

On Monday, a Los Angeles Times article revealed Los Angeles District Attorney Steve Cooley, a Republican, accepted funds from those who were close to targets of inquiries in Bell Gardens and the City of Industry.

"Following yet another troubling disclosure about L.A. District Attorney Steve Cooley in the Los Angeles Times, Democratic Nominee for Attorney General Kamala Harris will call for immediate action regarding campaign contributions Cooley has accepted from people under investigation by his own office for corruption," the San Francisco district attorney's campaign announced on Tuesday.

Harris' campaign said the Times' revelations "are part of a disturbing trend."

"Last week, LA Weekly revealed that Cooley has taken laundered campaign contributions from an ex-felon. Cooley's reply was the same: He won't give back the money or ask for an independent investigation -- after all, the money has been spent and the statute of limitations has expired," her campaign said in statement.

Meanwhile, Cooley's campaign spokesman, Kevin Spillane, told the Times the prosecutor's ethical line is clearly drawn: Political fundraising has no influence on the work of the district attorney's office.

Suggesting otherwise is "ridiculous and it's insulting," he told the newspaper. Cooley doesn't track all the donations his campaigns have raised, he said.

From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by e-mail at jessica@legalnewsline.com.

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