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L.A. Daily News publisher gives $750 to mayoral candidate

Los Angeles Mayoral candidate Kevin James speaks at a candidate debate in September 2012. Credit: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times

Jack Klunder, publisher of the Los Angeles Daily News, has contributed $750 to lawyer and former radio talk show host Kevin James in his bid for this year's mayoral race.  But Klunder said the contribution won't affect how the newspaper makes its endorsement decisions.

Klunder has given James three individual contributions of $250 since April, 2011, City Ethics Commission records show. Klunder also gave James tickets to Dodgers, Lakers and Kings sporting events last year, together valued at $400, according to a financial statement filed by James.

On the statement, James lists Klunder as a "friend." Klunder confirmed their friendship in an e-mail to The Times and said the donations would have no effect on editorial decisions regarding the mayor's race, which pits James against three City Hall veterans and four minor candidates.

FULL COVERAGE: Los Angeles mayoral race

"Our Editorial Board will make a decision regarding an endorsement after we have interviewed all candidates,'' Klunder wrote. "What I do personally does not impact the collective decisions of our board."

Fred Brown, a former Denver Post editor who is on the ethics committee at the Society of Professional Journalists, said it's unusual for a publisher to donate in a political campaign that the publisher's paper is covering.

Typically, newspapers and media companies have ethics policies that forbid news room employees from donating to campaigns and political causes. Publishers usually adherey to the same rules as their reporters and editors, Brown said.

"It does give the appearance that you’re partial to one candidate,'' Brown said. "You can do that on the editorial pages. But that perception kind of slops over into the news coverage, and readers will get the idea that you are not fair to all candidates."

Klunder said he and his wife, Dee Dee, are not residents of Los Angeles and cannot vote in the municipal elections.

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-- Catherine Saillant

Photo: Los Angeles mayoral candidate Kevin James speaks at a candidate debate in September 2012. Credit: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times 

 
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