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LACMA Questioned about Donation to Transit Tax Measure

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'Urban Light' at LACMA | Photo by nailmaker via LAist Featured Photos on Flickr

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the single largest contributor to Measure R, was questioned yesterday for donating close to a million dollars to support the campaign to pass the initiative that proposed raising the county's sales tax half-cent for transportation projects, including a possible subway rolling down Wilshire Blvd. with a stop right outside the museum.

LACMA is operated by the nonprofit, Museum Associates, which is allowed to lobby with a certain amount of money determined by an IRS formula (it works out to about a million), the Daily News finds. But the museum was questioned yesterday by the County Board of Supervisors on why they needed an additional $6 million when they were donating to a political cause.

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"If they have nearly $1 million to spend on campaigns, then they obviously don't need additional funds," Supervisor Michael Antonovich said at the meeting where the board voted to investigate the matter. But LACMA contends that transportation issues are the number one problem on museum-goer surveys. "We felt supporting the campaign for Measure R was a very cost-efficient way of ensuring increased visitorship in the future," said LACMA spokeswoman Barbara Pflaumer.

Antonovich, who was against Measure R, said if even if the donation was legal, it wasn't in the "spirit of the law."