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Badges awarded to campaign contributers

Stuart Pfeifer and Lance Pugmire of the Los Angeles Times investigated Gary Nalbandian, a seemingly political fundraiser in Southern California, and found band of donors have gotten badges and titles from law enforcement officials after raising tens of thousands of dollars. The granting of badges and titles to political supporters creates the appearance that they are rewards for donations. "Although the badges issued by the Riverside County Sheriff's Department and the San Bernardino County district attorney's office are not identical to those used by sworn officers, they bear similar stars or other symbols and official department names. " It is a misdemeanor in California to distribute badges to the public that are likely to be confused with real law enforcement badges. The donors and insiders who received the badges or identification have given more than $150,000 since 1997 to political campaigns.

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