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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Prosecutors: Gov. Walker part of criminal scheme

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, a potential 2016 Republican presidential candidate, illegally coordinated fundraising with conservative groups as part of a nationwide "criminal scheme" to violate election laws, prosecutors said in court documents unsealed Thursday. No charges have been filed against Walker or any member of his staff. The documents were filed in December as part of an ongoing lawsuit by the conservative group Wisconsin Club for Growth, which challenged a secret investigation into campaign fundraising coordination.

Idaho PAC against Otter raises $107,000 in week

BOISE – A new group with ties to Republican Party central committees in two Idaho counties has raised more than $100,000 in the past week for campaign attacks on Idaho’s Republican governor and attorney general. The group calling itself the Integrity in Government PAC sent mailings critical of Gov. Butch Otter and Attorney General Lawrence Wasden to every registered Republican in the state. The PAC also has a website criticizing Otter and calling for his defeat in Idaho’s primary on Tuesday.

Ariel Sharon, former Israeli PM, dies at 85

JERUSALEM (AP) — Ariel Sharon, the hard-charging Israeli general and prime minister who was admired and hated for his battlefield exploits and ambitions to reshape the Middle East, died today, eight years after a stroke left him in a coma from which he never awoke. He was 85. As one of Israel's most famous soldiers, Sharon was known for bold tactics and an occasional refusal to obey orders. As a politician he became known as "the bulldozer," a man contemptuous of his critics while also capable of getting things done.

Spin Control: Summertime, and the deleting is easy

OLYMPIA – Things are quiet enough at the Capitol that it’s possible to do something reporters generally avoid: clean out the unsolicited emails clogging up the inbox. We avoid wading through such correspondence for several reasons, like being busy most days with face-to-face and phone conversations, supplemented by Facebook postings, Twitter musings and actual news events. In that hierarchy, emails that come unbidden rank just slightly above nasty memos from the accounting department about expense vouchers.

Spotlight: With pledge drive completed, Interplayers keeps swinging

Even though May’s monthlong pledge drive to save Interplayers Theatres was a success, Interplayers isn’t done fundraising. The Spokane combo 6 Foot Swing will perform at a fundraising dance party on Friday at Chateau Rive at the Flour Mill, 621 W. Mallon Ave. The evening will feature dancing, hors d’oeuvres, dessert and raffles.

Guilds’ School penny drive moving full-speed ahead

A local organization that helps young children with disabilities adapt to school life now has to adapt its own fundraising practices to comply with Spokane’s new panhandling laws. The Spokane Guilds’ School Foundation is holding its 17th-annual penny drive on Saturday, its first since the Spokane City Council voted 6-1 in August to outlaw panhandling in the downtown corridor.

Fraternity plans relay run to benefit ALS

Eastern Washington University’s chapter of the Phi Delta Theta fraternity is planning a fundraising relay run from the Cheney campus to the Wild Horse monument near Vantage, Wash., Friday through Sunday. The relay is a fundraiser for the ALS Association, which funds research to find a cure for what’s commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.

Obama earned less in 2012, pays $112k in taxes

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama made less in 2012 than in any other year since taking office, with about 40 percent of the nearly $609,000 in income that he and first lady Michelle Obama reported coming from book sales. Obama, who renewed his call for higher taxes on the wealthy in the budget he released Wednesday, paid $112,214 in taxes last year, putting his effective federal tax rate at 18.4 percent. The Obamas donated almost one-quarter of their income to charity, helping to lower their overall tax bill, according to tax returns released by the White House.

APNewsBreak: $1 coin backers give to Harkin center

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — A South Korean businessman and his Iowa metals company gave $500,000 to a university institute honoring U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin, who is pushing for a dollar coin that could generate tens of millions of dollars in new business for the company, according to records obtained by The Associated Press. The donations to Iowa State University's Harkin Institute of Public Policy, uncovered through an open-records request, fall into a gray area in rules prohibiting companies that lobby from contributing to charitable funds "maintained or controlled" by sitting senators. Iowa Republicans allege that such donations to the powerful Democrat's namesake institute raise a conflict of interest.

AP: Workers say charity gave little money to vets

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A veterans charity already under scrutiny for how it raised hundreds of thousands of dollars in Tennessee handed out only a fraction of the money in the form of gift cards and threatened to fire workers if they didn't meet fundraising quotas, former employees say. The Stuart, Fla.-based Veterans Support Organization has been criticized by other groups for how it uses donations raised outside retail stores and supermarkets. It had been fined by Tennessee for making false claims about the benefits it offered, and Connecticut lawmakers called for a federal investigation before the group's Tennessee branch closed last month.

Like 9/11 concert, musicians turn out for Sandy

NEW YORK (AP) — Call the "12-12-12" benefit show "The Concert for New York City" 2.0. Eleven years after the benefit concert in response to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks was held at Madison Square Garden, many of the same top musicians came together to raise money for those suffering from Superstorm Sandy, including Paul McCartney, The Rolling Stones, Billy Joel, The Who, Eric Clapton and Bon Jovi. Those singers set a serious tone Wednesday night, wearing mostly black and gray onstage as they encouraged people to call and donate money to those affected by the devastating storm that took place in late October, killing about 140 people and damaging millions of homes and properties in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and other areas.

Obamas attend annual holiday concert in Washington

WASHINGTON (AP) — A holiday concert attended Sunday by President Barack Obama and his family included some non-traditional entertainment this year: a performance by South Korean rapper and Internet sensation PSY. PSY— wearing an all-red outfit including a sparkling, sequined top— was backed by dancers wearing reindeer antlers as he performed his popular "Gangnam Style" dance, which mimics riding a horse.

Election hits $2B mark amid last-minute donations

WASHINGTON (AP) — Remarkable for its last-minute surge of contributions, the U.S. presidential election witnessed unprecedented sums of cash boosting two men in their quest for the White House. It was a cost that surpassed $2 billion and sometimes came with the cloak of anonymity for billionaire donors. The election was the first in which "super" political action committees spent hundreds of millions on television ads, especially those supporting GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney. Super PACs, like those helping President Barack Obama, benefited from deep wells of money from wealthy donors and corporations.

$2 billion price tag for presidential election

WASHINGTON (AP) — The 2012 presidential election broke the $2 billion milestone in its final weeks, becoming the most expensive in American political history, according to final federal finance reports released Thursday. The reports detailed a last-minute cascade of money from mega-donors and an onslaught of spending by the Obama and Romney campaigns and "super" political action committees. The final campaign finance tallies filed with the Federal Election Commission included nearly $86 million in fundraising for the losing presidential candidate, Republican Mitt Romney, in the election's last weeks. That final burst brought the Romney campaign's total for the election to above $1 billion. Final fundraising and spending totals for President Barack Obama's victorious drive also topped $1 billion.

Tea Party group chief quits, cites internal split

WASHINGTON (AP) — Eased out with an $8 million payout provided by an influential GOP fundraiser, former Republican House Majority Leader Dick Armey says he has left a conservative Tea Party group, FreedomWorks, because of an internal split over the group's future direction. A confidential contract obtained by The Associated Press shows that Armey agreed in September to resign from his role as chairman of Washington-based FreedomWorks in exchange for $8 million in consulting fees paid in annual $400,000 installments. Dated Sept. 24, the contract specifies that Armey would resign his position at both FreedomWorks and its sister organization, the FreedomWorks Foundation, by the end of November.

Son’s woes weigh heavily on the Rev. Jesse Jackson

CHICAGO (AP) — In the cluttered office where he's met with some of the nation's top politicians and preachers, penned rousing speeches and planned civil rights marches, the Rev. Jesse Jackson speaks so softly — and with so little enunciation — that one strains at times to hear him. At 71, he still keeps a hectic schedule and speaks extemporaneously on everything from voting rights to hostages in Gambia. But the head of one of America's most prominent families struggles when addressing one thing: the son and heir to Jackson's political influence who abandoned his congressional seat last week because of mental health problems and two federal investigations into his political dealings.

Ethics panel investigating New York Republican

WASHINGTON (AP) — The House Ethics Committee announced Monday that Rep. Michael Grimm, a former FBI agent, is under investigation for possible campaign finance violations, but said it is deferring the inquiry because of a separate Justice Department probe. The New York Republican may have violated campaign finance laws by soliciting and accepting prohibited contributions, actions that may have caused false information to be included in campaign finance reports, the committee said.

Twins in Petraeus scandal took photo with Rubio

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — The host of a fundraiser for Sen. Marco Rubio says the twin sisters involved in the David Petraeus scandal crashed one of Rubio's campaign fundraisers. Angelette Aviles hosted the fundraiser in 2010. She said Thursday that the twins, Jill Kelley and Natalie Khawam, came to the party uninvited, took their photo with Rubio and quickly left without donating money to his Senate campaign. Aviles posted a photo of the twins with Rubio on Twitter.