L.A. NOW
Southern California — this just in
October 23, 2010 | 6:34 pm

Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. Steve Cooley on Saturday said he has no plans to return $13,000 in contributions to his attorney general’s campaign from an oil company received while his office was prosecuting the firm for violating state environmental laws.

Cooley said his campaign staff is reviewing the matter, however. He emphasized that the donations from Warren E&P Inc., which operates oil wells near the Port of Los Angeles, had no influence on how his office handled the pending case.

Reports filed by Warren’s parent company with the Securities and Exchange Commission show that county prosecutors have agreed to a nearly identical settlement to the one discussed by the Los Angeles city attorney’s office under Democrat Rocky Delgadillo.

The district attorney’s office inherited the case from the city attorney’s office, which filed criminal charges against Warren in January 2008. The case was handed over to the district attorney’s office after the firm’s defense lawyer, Carmen Trutanich, was elected city attorney last year, taking over for Delgadillo.

Cooley said returning the donations would throw Warren E&P Inc. “under the bus” and imply that the company was trying to influence prosecutors, which he said would be unfair to both the company and his agency.

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