More Democrat finance scandal woes
Sant S. Chatwal, an Indian American businessman, has helped raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's campaigns, even as he battled governments on two continents to escape bankruptcy and millions of dollars in tax liens.
The founder of the Bombay Palace restaurant chain, Chatwal is one of a growing number of fundraisers in the 2008 presidential campaign whose backgrounds have prompted questions about how much screening the candidates devote to their "bundlers" while they press to raise record amounts.
Chatwal's case reached from his native India to New York City. The IRS pursued him for approximately $4 million in unpaid business taxes, while New York state placed a lien seeking more than $5 million in taxes. He forfeited a building to New York City on which he was delinquent on property taxes and was sued by federal regulators seeking to recoup millions of dollars in loans from a failed bank where he served as a director.
Across the ocean, three Indian banks forced him into U.S. bankruptcy, and he was charged with bank fraud. He was out on bond when he showed up in India in 2001 during a visit by his longtime friend Bill Clinton.
Link via Accuracy in Media, in an article that also reports this:
In financial terms, a much larger scandal has virtually escaped media coverage altogether. The last week of August, the Federal Elections Commission fined the George Soros-funded group Americans Coming Together (ACT) $775,000. This was the third largest fine the FEC had ever levied on an organization or campaign. ACT's violation was that it had violated campaign finance laws during the 2004 election cycle. ACT said it was using the funds for nonpartisan purposes, but the FEC said the money was being used for very partisan purposes―to defeat President Bush.
The amount of money was astounding. According to a posting on the New York Times website by Kate Phillips, a longtime editor at the Times, citing the FEC statement regarding the fine, "ACT raised approximately $137 million in connection with the 2004…The FEC concluded that approximately $70 million in disbursements characterized by ACT as 'administrative expenses' for door-to-door canvassing, direct mail and telemarketing were actually attributable to clearly identified federal candidates and were required either to be paid with 100% federal funds or to be allocated between federal and non-federal candidates based on the time or space devoted to the candidates."
Phillips summarized the FEC's findings by saying that, "based on complaints by campaign finance advocacy groups like Democracy 21 and the Campaign Legal Center…ACT used millions of dollars in unregulated money to promote the candidacy of Senator John Kerry and the defeat of George Bush for re-election."
Labels: Crime, Politics