California Democrat Received Illegal Contributions From Foreign National California Democrat Received Illegal Contributions From Foreign National – NTK Network

California Democrat Received Illegal Contributions From Foreign National

A San Diego lobbyist admitted to setting up a straw donor scheme to allow a foreign national to donate to a San Diego Democrat.

By NTK Staff | 11.30.2017 @12:30pm
California Democrat Received Illegal Contributions From Foreign National

San Diego lobbyist Marco Polo Cortes plead guilty to “conspiring to make illegal campaign contributions in connection with a congressional election,” according to the Times of San Diego.

The congressman in question is Rep. Juan Vargas, a Democrat representing San Diego in the U.S. House.

The money, which originated from a foreign national, was funneled through the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) and designated for Vargas. Foreign nationals are legally prohibited from donating to U.S. political campaigns.

Here’s how the scheme worked:

Marco Polo Cortes, 47, pleaded guilty to arranging a meeting between co-defendant Jose Susumo Azano Matsura and a congressman in September 2012, after which Azano contributed $30,000 to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee on behalf of Rep. Juan Vargas, D-San Diego.

At the time, Azano was a foreign national who could not lawfully make contributions or expenditures, either directly or indirectly, in connection with any election at the federal, state or local levels.

Azano did so nonetheless, using a straw donor to create the appearance of legality, according to prosecutors.

As detailed in a jury trial last year, former La Jolla car dealer Marc Chase used funds provided by Azano to draft three checks, including the one to the committee. The conspirators also funneled an additional $150,000 of Azano’s funds to other recipients, court documents state.

The lobbyist admitted in his plea agreement that he knew the donations to the DCCC were illegal.

Azano, the foreign national, was sentenced to 36 months in custody and ordered to pay more than $500,000 in fines.

Vargas pleaded ignorance, claiming he “did not solicit or encourage the $30,000 donation.”

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