sac bee on ag donor, CCWC Q: brand brown at a crossroads?

Jerry Brown donations tied to businessmen he’s now probing

John J. Pitney Jr., Crocker professor of politics at Claremont McKenna College, said the campaign contributions may become a problem for Brown.

“He’s built his entire career as a reformer who is independent of corporate interests,” Pitney said.

“If I were advising Brown, I’d tell him not to keep the money,” he said. “Keeping the money would be a mistake.”

Pitney said Brown could refund the donations to the firms or give them to a charity.

Robert Stern, president of the Center for Governmental Studies in Los Angeles, said he wasn’t as troubled as Pitney.

“They should be disclosed and discussed, but I don’t see a big problem, ” Stern said. “The attorney general himself is not conducting those investigations. It’s his staff.”

“People who give campaign contributions are usually people who want something. If there are charges, he may consider returning the money or turning the money over to others at that time,” added Stern, who noted that he worked for Brown for a couple of years in the 1970s.

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