McCain campaign to return $50,000 in donations solicited through foreign national
The McCain campaign today has agreed to return $50,000 in donations collected for him from a Jordanian foreign national, Mustafa Abu Naba’a. The McCain fundraising questions started out two days ago, when the Washington Post noticed that a large number of contributions being raised for McCain by Harry Sargeant, a Florida defense contractor, were coming from unlikely places such as an auto mechanic and unregistered voters. Yesterday, the NYT reported that a number of those contributions that Sargeant raised were not raised directly from him, but raised from his Jordanian business partner Mustafa Abu Naba’a. These contributions were raised again from people who were very unlikely sources of donations, including several people who did not intending on supporting McCain for president.
If anyone is interested in reading up on the questions that have been raised about John McCain’s fundraising, I wrote about the issues both at Daily Kos and Strategy 08 in 2 articles: McCain raises questionable contributions from Mechanic, unregistered voters and NYT Raises More Questions About McCain’s Fundraising. They’re both worth a read if you’re interested in reading more about McCain’s questionable fundraising.
Today, the McCain campaign must finally be feeling the heat, because the AP reports that the campaign has agreed to return $50,000 in donations that have been raised by Mustafa Abu Naba’a.
From the AP:
John McCain’s campaign said Thursday it is returning $50,000 in contributions solicited by a foreign citizen. The move follows the disclosure that the money was being raised by a Jordanian man who is a business partner of prominent Florida Republican Harry Sargeant III, who has collected hundreds of thousands of dollars for McCain.
The New York Times reported Thursday that Sargeant allowed a longtime business partner, Mustafa Abu Naba’a, to bring in some $50,000 in donations in March from members of a single extended family in California, the Abdullahs, along with several of their friends.
For John McCain to return that significant amount of money, his campaign had to be pretty certain that this issue would continue to make them look bad if they didn’t return the funds. Even if no illegal activity took place during the fundraising, it still reflects badly on the campaign to have a Jordanian oil man as one of your fundraisers when you are spreading the message of getting us off of foreign oil.
I found this bit of the article to also be very interesting:
At the same time, the campaign sent a letter to everyone whose donations went through Sargeant, reminding them that federal law bars campaigns from accepting contributions from foreign nationals and that all donations must come from their own funds, without reimbursement.
It’s clear that the McCain campaign took a look at the donations raised by Sargeant and realized they were questionable enough to remind people of election law. If we keep the pressure up on this story, they may be forced to refund even more questionable contributions from Sargeant.
Because while this fundraising issue may not cause McCain any long term damage to his reputation, the fact that he now has to return $50,000 means that one of his misleading attack ads will be shown a few less times on TV.