Calif. lawmaker returns Buddhist groups' donations

By STEVE LAWRENCE, Associated Press, April 15, 2009

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (USA) -- A California lawmaker has repaid $6,100 in improper campaign donations made by two Buddhist temples and a research organization associated with one of them.

Mike Spence, chief of staff for Republican Assemblyman Curt Hagman of Chino Hills, says the last of the refund checks was mailed Wednesday.

The three organizations - the Buddhist Temple of Chino Hills, the Bu-Sha Center and Buta Buddhism Research Center, both of West Covina - gave Hagman campaign donations despite their nonprofit status. That prohibits them from becoming involved in political campaigns.

Representatives of the temples say they did not know the contributions were illegal.

Hagman says he was unaware of the temple contributions until they were pointed out to him by The Associated Press.