San Diego’s newest political scandal: What we’ve uncovered

Dear friends of inewsource,

This week’s federal complaint was a bombshell: A Mexican billionaire allegedly plowing money into local political campaigns through a “straw donor.” Details were scant, but at inewsource, we’re using research and data skills to dig into just how far the questionable actions go.

We’ve also got a new staff member who debuts tomorrow with the story of the “wealthy businessman” at the center of the probe.

So many connections, so many contributions

Reporters Brad Racino and Joe Yerardi have been burning the midnight oil and more these last few days, following the names and the money. Their radio, TV and web pieces list political contributions they found that the feds and other media have not mentioned — all traced to the “foreign national” and “straw donor” described in the FBI complaint.

Check out what we’ve found about the main players in the spotlight and the new contributions traced to them.

Story: http://goo.gl/2wXeFN

Mystery man at the center of the probe

This morning, we bring you a profile of Jose Susumo Azano Matsura, the “wealthy businessman” cited in the federal complaint, who alleged contributed more than $500,000 to various local candidates via a “straw donor.” Foreign nationals, like Azana, are prohibited from giving to campaigns — and therefore influencing candidates — at all levels of U.S. government.

This story — carefully curated from dozens of Mexican newspapers, periodicals and websites — is brought to you by Leo Castaneda, our new investigative assistant. He’s a senior at SDSU working with us this semester. Little has been published about Azano in the United States, so Leo spent two days combing Spanish-language newspapers, periodicals and websites, which were full of accounts of the man some say is a multi-billionaire.

He lives in a large waterfront house in Coronado but has many other residences. He’s perhaps better known for his long-running legal disputes with Sempra Energy over land in Ensenada.


We are committed to staying on this story, particularly in ways that make the most of our data expertise.

If you appreciate what we’re doing, forward this newsletter to a friend. And encourage that friend to become an inewsource member.

— Lorie Hearn, executive director

Lorie Hearn is the chief executive officer and editor of inewsource. She is a lifelong news-aholic who started her reporting career writing her Girl Scout newsletter at age 12. High school and college were filled with school newspaper work, and after graduation, she worked as a reporter for newspapers...