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Contributions to California AG

AP reports:

In the last two months, Attorney General Bill Lockyer has taken $71,000 in campaign contributions from executives and two companies that are embroiled in lawsuits and the subject of scores of consumer complaints.

Executives from one firm, Oklahoma-based Pre-Paid Legal Services Inc., gave Lockyer a total of $20,000 between Nov. 8 and Nov. 12, according to state campaign finance records.

Pro football Hall of Famer Fran Tarkenton, who used to be on the firm's board, chipped in another $5,000.

Pre-Paid, a multilevel marketing firm that sells insurance-like legal plans, has been the subject of an "inquiry" by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, according to the company's annual report, and has been the subject of dozens of lawsuits in Oklahoma, Mississippi, Alabama, and West Virginia stemming from its business practices.

The second company, Paycom Billing Services Inc. of Marina del Rey, is the subject of more than 150 complaints with the Better Business Bureau over its billing practices. The company and its top executives gave $46,000 to Lockyer this December.

Paycom is headed by J. Christopher Mallick, a Los Angeles businessman and longtime Lockyer donor who calls the state's top consumer watchdog a "personal friend." In 2001, Mallick, the company, other Paycom officials and lawyer representing the company gave Lockyer $36,195 for his re-election fund.

Consumers have complained that Paycom, an Internet billing company that gets a substantial portion of its money processing credit card payments for adult Web sites, charged them for services they didn't buy.