“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.
“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.