FEBRUARY 26, 2009
A Jordanian businessman with ties to a major Republican fundraiser has been indicted for making tens of thousand of dollars in illegal contributions to Florida’s governor and three presidential candidates, including Hillary Clinton.
In a six-count federal grand jury indictment Ala’a al-Ali, who lives in the Dominican Republic, is charged with conspiracy and making illegal contributions to the 2008 presidential campaigns of Arizona Senator John McCain, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani and the nation’s new Secretary of State.
Federal prosecutors say Ali arranged for at least $60,000 in illegal donations to be funneled into the three presidential campaigns and $5,000 to the campaign of Florida Republican Governor Charlie Crist. To circumvent federal limits on individual contributions as well as a ban on foreign donations, Ali recruited Southern California residents to cut the checks and later reimbursed them.
The scheme is very similar to one operated by a close associate of Ali’s, a wealthy defense contractor (Harry Sargeant) and bundler recently forced out as Florida Republican Party finance chairman. Sargeant, a college buddy of Crist’s, bundled hefty sums for the governor and more than half a million dollars for McCain’s failed presidential bid.
Similar to this case, much of the cash came from suspicious sources; foreign donors living in California who insist they never gave a dime and, frankly, don’t have the resources to. That’s why McCain returned some of the tainted money—$50,000—but all other recipients have remained silent on the matter.
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