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San Diego's Bill Lerach, who cut a plea bargain deal with federal prosecutors two weeks ago that would send him to prison for at least a year for his role in a client kickback scandal, was the city's biggest Democratic money man, eclipsing even retail mogul Sol Price and cell-phone billionaire Irwin Jacobs. The class action lawyer personally donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to the campaigns of congressmen, senators, and presidents, got his friends to give, and was even rewarded by Bill Clinton with a stay in the White House's Lincoln bedroom. But when Lerach signed his plea-bargain agreement -- yet to be approved by a judge -- campaigns from coast to coast began turning his suddenly tainted contributions over to charity. Senator Joe Biden of Maryland, whose presidential campaign received $2700 of Lerach's money, announced he was giving it to the National Prostate Coalition. Locally, state assemblywoman Lori Saldaña got $3300; her spokesman says those funds have also been contributed to charity.

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