August 04, 2003
Westar bans corporate political donations

The horses may be in several different counties, but Westar's barn door is now securely locked.

After revelations that Westar Energy Inc. executives may have violated federal election law with illegal political donations, the company's board has banned corporate political contributions.

Beating a self-imposed 90-day deadline, which comes Tuesday, the board adopted its new policy on July 16, spokesman Jim Ludwig said Friday.

"I think this is an excellent, good step by Westar," Craig Holman, campaign finance lobbyist for Washington-based advocacy group Public Citizen, said Monday.

Noting that the policy also bans corporate contributions in states where they're legal, Holman praised Westar for "taking an extra step and even going beyond what might be required by state laws."

Meanwhile, Westar special counsel Tim Jenkins of Washington continues to examine Westar's financial donations during the 2002 congressional elections, which critics have described as "bribes."

"The investigation is continuing," Ludwig said.

The new policy and investigation were recommended by the authors of a 360-page internal report released May 15.

The new policy states that officers may "encourage" one another to contribute to particular candidates but that "under no circumstances will corporate facilities or administrative personnel be used in connection with any such efforts."

My breath is actually bated in anticipation of that special prosecutor investigation. Thanks to Alfredo Garcia for the tip.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on August 04, 2003 to Scandalized! | TrackBack