7/26/04 10:00 AM EST
Edwards Will Return Controversial Contributions
Newsweek reports in an exclusive this week that John Edwards, "seeking to avert a potential new flap over campaign fundraising, is returning $44,035 in contributions raised by a prominent Los Angeles trial lawyer whose activities have come under legal scrutiny." Pierce O'Donnell, "a longtime Edwards backer, cohosted a fund-raiser at an L.A. restaurant last year that drew $340,000," but his effort "recently has come under scrutiny by the Federal Election Commission in the wake of complaints filed by the Los Angeles district attorney's office, as well as California and Los Angeles election officials, charging O'Donnell with making $25,500 in improper contributions to the 2001 campaign of L.A. Mayor Jimmy Hahn." These officials "charged that O'Donnell made 26 separate 'assumed name' donations to Hahn, providing cash for donations listed in the name of others. Deena Ghaly, the ethics commission's enforcement chief, told Newsweek she has been contacted by the FEC seeking the city's evidence in the O'Donnell case. The reason: some of the same alleged 'straw' donors in the Hahn race were also listed as giving the maximum $2,000 contribution to the Edwards campaign." The New York Times also reports the story this morning.