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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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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.

Deficit talks will test the GOP focus on tax rates

WASHINGTON (AP) — Republican leaders say the government can raise tax "revenues" without raising tax "rates." But they have yet to detail how they would pursue it. The distinction might mean little to Americans who end up with larger tax bills even if their tax rates don't change. This politically tricky trade-off is about to take center stage in negotiations over how to reduce the federal deficit and avoid going over the "fiscal cliff" in just seven weeks.

Sandy likely biggest US relief effort since 2005

WASHINGTON (AP) — Widespread destruction from Superstorm Sandy will likely make this the largest U.S. relief effort for the American Red Cross, Salvation Army and other groups since Hurricane Katrina's devastation in 2005. By Friday, the Red Cross had raised $117 million in donations and pledges for relief work across 10 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. The Salvation Army had raised $5 million online and by phone.

Zumba instructor is a great mom, friend says

KENNEBUNK, Maine (AP) — The dance instructor accused of turning her Zumba studio into a place of prostitution was an honors high school student who attended college and ran dance classes for the local parks and recreation program. She hosted charity events benefiting Toys for Tots and breast cancer research. That's why some who know Alexis Wright say she's the last person they thought would get caught up in a headline-grabbing scandal.

Man climbs Chicago skyscraper using bionic leg

CHICAGO (AP) — The metal on Zac Vawter's bionic leg gleamed as he climbed the 103 floors of Chicago's iconic Willis Tower, becoming the first person ever to complete the task wearing a mind-controlled prosthetic limb. Vawter, who lost his right leg in a motorcycle accident, put the smart limb on public display for the first time during an annual stair-climbing charity event called "SkyRise Chicago" hosted by the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, where he is receiving treatment.

Sandy benefit concert draws $23 million in pledges

LOS ANGELES (AP) — NBC says its benefit concert for Superstorm Sandy victims drew nearly $23 million in donations to the American Red Cross. Friday's hour-long telethon included performances by artists native to the areas hardest-hit by Sandy, including New Jersey natives Bruce Springsteen and Jon Bon Jovi and Billy Joel of New York's Long Island. Others who took part in the special included Sting, Christina Aguilera, Mary J. Blige, Tina Fey and Jon Stewart.

Man climbs Chicago skyscraper with bionic leg

CHICAGO (AP) — The metal on Zac Vawter bionic leg gleamed as he climbed 103 floors of Chicago's iconic Willis Tower, becoming the first person ever to complete the task wearing a mind-controlled prosthetic limb. Vawter, who lost his right leg in a motorcycle accident, put the smart limb on public display for the first time during an annual stair-climbing charity event called "SkyRise Chicago" hosted by the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, where he is receiving treatment.