Tainted Donations Vex Political Campaigns

Article excerpt

Byline: Kara Rowland, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

The House Republicans' campaign arm said it won't return donations from two contributors who have been accused of severe corporate irresponsibility - one is accused of running an $80 million Ponzi scheme while the other pleaded guilty to defrauding U.S. government operations in Afghanistan.

North Carolina businessman Vance Moore II, who donated more than $85,000 to the National Republican Congressional Committee between 2004 and 2008, was arrested this week on charges of bilking investors in his automated teller machine business.

And earlier this month, Barbara Spier, who gave $16,000 to the NRCC earlier this decade, pleaded guilty in federal court to conspiring with her husband to defraud the U.S. Agency for International Development for at least $3 million by inflating the costs incurred by their contracting firm. Mrs. Spier made her donations from 2003 to 2004.

The NRCC declined to comment on the record, but a committee official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said committee members have no plans to refund the money from either Mr. Moore or Mrs. Spier.

Candidates and political committees often have to grapple with how and when to return campaign contributions, and it's not just Republicans whose donors have gotten into trouble for corporate wrongdoing recently.

In August, New York authorities accused Democratic fundraiser Hassan Nemazee of fraudulently obtaining $292 million in loans from three banks. Mr. Nemazee, an investment banker who served as finance chairman to the presidential campaigns of both Sen. John Kerry and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, pleaded not guilty.

Together with his wife, Mr. Nemazee donated more than $200,000 to the Democratic senatorial and congressional campaign arms.

A Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee official said the group donated the $25,000 it received this year from Mr. Nemazee to charity. Mr. Nemazee also donated $25,000 to the committee in 2007.

Meanwhile, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee received more than $150,000 from the Nemazees between 2004 and 2009. …