AUGUST 11, 2008
The Republican governor said to be among John McCain’s top candidates for vice president also received questionable donations from the same controversial bundler who raised hefty sums for the Arizona senator.
Acknowledging that some of the money was tainted, McCain recently returned $50,000 tied to prominent Florida businessman Harry Sargeant, but so far the governor of the Sunshine State (Charlie Crist) has refused to part with his cash despite media reports that Sargeant probably obtained much of it illegally.
Sargeant, the finance chairman of the Florida Republican Party, is a close friend and college buddy of Governor Crist’s. The wealthy Delray Beach defense contractor bundled hefty sums for Crist’s 2006 gubernatorial campaign and much of the cash came from foreign donors living in California who insist they never gave a dime and, frankly, don’t have the resources to.
Among them is a homemaker in Corona California named Jihan Nassar, who is listed as a $500 donor to Crist’s campaign. She assures she did not make the donation because it is not financially possible. More than three dozen “donors” with similar stories contributed to Crist and some to McCain’s presidential campaign.
This implies that Sargeant illegally reimbursed them to skirt contribution limits. Additionally, some of the donors are foreign nationals and it is illegal for them to donate money to U.S. campaigns. Apparently that’s why McCain returned some of the cash last week although it was only a tiny portion of the half a million dollars that Sargeant has raised for his presidential campaign. Sargeant has also donated $30,000 of his own money to a joint McCain-Republican fund.
Known for sporting a year-round Florida tan, Crist has been too busy planning his wedding to deal with this particular matter. However, the smooth-talking former jock assured the media that “It’s all good” when asked about his numerous California donors. Earlier in the week he called his friend and college fraternity brother Sargeant a great patriot.
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