June 9, 2006
Democrats Returning Money to Two Milberg Lawyers
By Jeremy Pelofsky
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Democratic National Committee plans to return $5,000 in campaign contributions from two Milberg Weiss Bershad & Schulman LLP partners who were indicted last month, a party spokeswoman said on Friday.
The Milberg Weiss firm, known for its class-action securities lawsuits against major corporations, and attorneys David Bershad and Steven Schulman were indicted last month by a federal grand jury in Los Angeles for orchestrating a kickback scheme in which it paid clients for acting as plaintiffs in its lawsuits. All have denied the allegations.
"The DNC will return checks from partners David Bershad and Steven Schulman because they were indicted and because the indictment happened in the cycle that we received their checks," said DNC spokeswoman Stacie Paxton.
Since 1999, the firm and individuals there have given $2.78 million in campaign donations to Democrats, according to data compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics, which tracks money in politics.
In contrast, Republicans received about $22,000, according to the center.
From 1999 to 2006, the Democratic National Committee was one of the primary beneficiaries, receiving almost half the money, $1.28 million. Most of that was from the firm itself and included $500,000 for the DNC's new headquarters.
New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, the Democratic candidate to become the state's governor, planned to return $124,455 in contributions, his office said last month.