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Super PAC returns money from Bette Midler foundation

5:08 PM, Aug 15, 2013   |    comments
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WASHINGTON (USA TODAY) - Actress and singer Bette Midler has not been shy about expressing her political views.

In recent days, she's used Twitter to slam Lawrence Summers, a top contender for the job as Federal Reserve chairman as "an architect of bank deregulation, which turned straitlaced banks into casinos and bankers into pimps."

In April, she tweeted "GABBY GIFFORDS SPEAKS, AND SHE IS FURIOUS!!" to highlight a New York Times op-ed by former Arizona congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who survived a January 2011 shooting rampage and has become a prominent gun-control advocate.

But, as Michael Beckel of The Center for Public Integrity reports today, Midler may have gone too far with her support of Giffords' efforts. Her private family foundation donated $10,000 on May 13 to Giffords' gun-control super PAC, Americans for Responsible Solutions.

Federal law bars foundations from lobbying to influence legislation and frowns on them participating in politics, even indirectly. Giffords' group has pushed hard for gun-control legislation in Congress.

Giffords' super PAC is in the process of refunding the donation - along with a $5,000 contribution from another family foundation, executive director Pia Carusone told USA TODAY this afternoon. It previously has returned $250 it received from a congregational church in Sarasota Springs, N.Y., Beckel notes in his report.

"When you have 80,000 donations, some number of them are mistakes," Carusone said. "This is a part of a group of clerical errors that are very common."

Earlier this year, she said, the group received an unsolicited contribution for $20,000. Carusone said when she called the donor to thank her, the woman said: "Oh no, I meant to give you $20."

Update at 4:05 p.m. ET: Midler's publicist Ken Sunshine said "it was an accounting mistake." Midler, he said, already has sent a personal check to replace the earlier donation from the foundation.

USA Today

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