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Candidates in Faraway States Get Donations from Shareholder Litigation Firms

Posted Feb 3, 2010 11:28 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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Twenty-five leading law firms that represent plaintiffs in shareholder litigation apparently have an interest in politics, even when the races aren’t local.

The law firms, their lawyers and their family members have contributed more than $21 million in the past decade to state-level candidates and party funds, the Wall Street Journal reports. Less than 40 percent of the contributions went to candidates in the firms’ home states.

Critics say the donations are evidence of a pay-to-play culture in which law firms make campaign donations to candidates in a position to hire them when state and local pension funds file shareholder lawsuits. The Wall Street Journal Law Blog sums up the story with this headline: “Plaintiffs’ Lawyers Give to Campaigns, Later Get Business. Discuss.”

The Wall Street Journal says these five law firms gave the most money to out of state candidates: Bernstein Liebhard, Coughlin Stoia Geller Rudman & Robbins, Entwistle & Cappucci, Bernstein Litowitz Berger & Grossmann, and Labaton Sucharow.

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