N.Y. Group Probes Dem Convention Parties

A state watchdog organization is investigating whether parties and events thrown by three companies at last week's Democratic National Convention (search) violated state law, a source told The Associated Press.

The New York Temporary Commission on Lobbying (search) also plans to closely monitor the bashes planned for the Republican National Convention starting Aug. 30 in New York City.

Citigroup, KeySpan and Eastman Kodak Co. have been sent letters seeking details of their events at the Democratic convention in Boston, the source said on the condition of anonymity. The investigation was first reported by The New York Times.

At issue is whether the galas — where alcohol and food is served — violated a New York state law that bans gifts to lawmakers worth more than $75.

KeySpan spokesman Ed Yutkowitz said he received a letter about Boston Red Sox tickets that the gas company gave to legislators and nonprofit group officials. "We are confident we are in compliance," he said.

The question came up after a lawyer for the state Republican Committee and the Bush-Cheney campaign in New York asked for a clarification of the state lobbying rule on parties paid for by corporations and other government lobbyists.

By state law, events that benefit a charity, political party, elected official, candidate for office or a campaign committee are exempted from the state's gift reporting rules. But the commission ruled unanimously the convention parties don't meet any of those criteria and would be subject to state reporting rules.

A commission spokesman refused to comment.