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August 16, 2005
Barbara Boxer Takes Big Money From Fed-Targeted Law Firm

The law blog Independent Sources notes that Barbara Boxer has taken a lot of money from one of the nation's most notorious class-action law firms -- a firm that currently finds itself the target of a federal bribery and corruption probe. Milberg Weiss donated more than $30,000 to her 2004 campaign and over $44,000 in her first Senate campaign -- enough to make Milberg Weiss her fourth-largest contributor for her entire Senate career.

Who is Milberg Weiss? Currently one of its former partners is testifying to just that question to a federal grand jury:

U.S. prosecutors have stepped up their criminal probe of law firm Milberg Weiss, a specialist in class-action cases, and have given immunity to two former partners at the firm, The Wall Street Journal reported on Monday.

The newspaper, citing unspecified lawyers close to the case, said a grand jury in Los Angeles heard secret testimony three weeks ago from Alan Schulman, one of the former partners who was granted immunity.

Milberg Weiss was implicated in a federal indictment unsealed in June against a client of the firm who allegedly accepted secret kickbacks to act as a plaintiff in more than 50 securities class-action suits. The law firm contends the payments were referral fees to other law firms that had been disclosed on tax documents.

I first covered this story about Milberg Weiss in June, when the indictments were unsealed. Independent Sources has done a great job of tracking the political connections of Milberg Weiss that may have allowed them to fly under the radar as long as possible. It notes the efforts by Boxer to undermine a voter referendum intended on tightening controls on class-action lawsuits, as well as her overall support for trial attorneys in general. It calls for Boxer to return these funds now that Milberg Weiss has been indicted, although it expresses pessimism whether that call will get any answer.

Be sure to read all of the Independent Sources' information, especially for California voters.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at August 16, 2005 7:23 AM

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