Skirting the rules

The city's law covering political contributions reads that officials should not solicit donations from anyone with official business before them. The Times has a front-page story today reporting that two top Hahn-appointed commissioners helped raise $80,000 for the mayor at fundraisers they hosted for companies that had business with their boards. In the case of Harbor commission boss Nick Tonsich, the Times says, he paid for the invitations, put his name on them and asked that the checks be sent to his law office. In the case of Airport commission head Ted Stein, the fundraiser was at his home, he paid for the drinks, and when it came time to introduce Mayor Jim Hahn to the assembled check-writers, Stein did the honors. No problem, Hahn tells the Times:

Hahn maintains the two commissioners did not break the city ethics law because they did not specifically "solicit" donations.

"If someone has a fundraising event at their house, it doesn't mean they are soliciting the contributions," the mayor said. In a later interview, Hahn added, "Fundraising means asking somebody for money."

The piece by Noam N. Levey and Patrick McGreevy notes that federal and local prosecutors are continuing to investigate "potential links between campaign contributions and city contracts, particularly at the harbor and airports."

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