A story in yesterday’s Union-Tribune left readers with the impression that only GOP state legislators in S. D. county took campaign money from tobacco-related firms between 2003 and 2010 …. Not so fast. Public records reveal then-State Senator Denise Moreno Ducheny’s campaign accepted $3,300 from Philip Morris on Dec. 30, 2005, and another $1,000 from RJ Reynolds, April 18, 2005. Ducheny is a prominent San Diego county Democrat.
…STORY CLAIM: “NO SITTING DEMOCRAT FROM SAN DIEGO COUNTY RECEIVED DIRECT CONTRIBUTIONS”
The U-T story lists “Tobacco money to sitting lawmakers 2003–2010,” while noting, “Some numbers reflect donations for different offices and can vary by number of years in office. No sitting Democrat from San Diego County received direct contributions.” The U-T cites the American Lung Association as a source.
The 2005 Philip Morris and RJ Reynolds donations to Sen. Ducheny’s campaign committee can be seen on the California Secretary of State’s campaign disclosure website: http://cal-access.ss.ca.gov/Campaign/Committees/Detail.aspx?id=1251579&view=received&session=2005&psort=AMOUNT
Senator Ducheny left office in December 2010, owing to term limits, but was a “sitting” senator throughout the 2003-2010 time period specified in the U-T story. The donations she accepted were completely legal and no wrong-doing is suggested on her part.
We will hope to see a clarification/revision from the Union-Tribune and reporter Michael Gardner on this issue.