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Saturday, August 9, 2008

'STRAW' DONORS?

2 Groups Seek Probe Of McCain Contributions

MoveOn.org and an arm of the independent political group Public Campaign Action Fund want the Justice Department to investigate whether bundlers for John McCain's presidential campaign are using "straw" donations -- those made in the name of someone else to evade contribution limits.

The left-leaning online advocacy group, which has endorsed Barack Obama, is planning a petition drive to put pressure on Justice to look into two incidents involving McCain donors who, despite appearing to be of modest means, wrote large checks to his campaign and to the Republican National Committee.

"The Justice Department must thoroughly investigate John McCain and the Republican National Committee's pattern of potentially illegal donations," says an e-mail that MoveOn.org is sending backers.

McCain's campaign on Thursday returned nearly $50,000 raised by Florida businessman Harry Sargeant III after questions arose about the money he and his colleagues collected from California donors who held jobs that seemed inconsistent with such large political gifts. A second instance involved an office manager at the Hess oil company who, with her husband, an Amtrak track foreman, has given more than $60,000 to McCain and the RNC this year. She has said she and her husband gave their own money.

McCain campaign spokesman Brian Rogers said the money raised by Sargeant was returned out of an abundance of caution.

David Donnelly of the group Campaign Money Watch said he thought the McCain campaign's decision to return some of the money raised by Sargeant and his colleagues was "a good first step."

-- Matthew Mosk

CONCERNS APPARENTLY SET ASIDE

Cheney to Address Republican Convention

Vice President Cheney will speak at the Republican National Convention in Minneapolis-St. Paul on the same day as President Bush, officials said Friday.

"The vice president looks forward to participating in the Republican National Convention and continuing to work for the election of Senator McCain and other Republican candidates in the coming months," Cheney spokeswoman Megan Mitchell said.

The announcement suggests the controversial vice president's enduring popularity within the Republican base overcame concerns from some GOP insiders that his appearance would pose a political complication for John McCain, who has sought to distance himself from the current White House.

Democrats have sought to tie McCain to the unpopular president, labeling him "McSame" and running commercials that show McCain praising Bush. Earlier this week, Democrats also unveiled a Web site called "The Next Cheney," comparing possible McCain running mates to the current vice president.

-- Dan Eggen


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