A major Democratic donor has entered a guilty plea for to campaign finance fraud and witness tampering. Sant Singh Chatwal was caught in an FBI sting, which revealed he had made over $180,000 in illegal campaign contributions to Hillary Clinton, Harry Reid, and Kendrick Meek.
Via the Observer:
Mr. Chatwal, 70, who runs a chain of luxury hotels and other companies, allegedly broke federal law by using straw donors — whom he called “conduits” — to make more than $180,000 in illegal campaign contributions to three candidates in an effort to gain access and influence federal regulations, according to a federal complaint.
Prosecutors alleged that, from 2007 to 2011, Mr. Chatwal “used his employees, business associates, and contractors who performed work on his hotels … to solicit campaign contributions on Chatwal’s behalf in support of various candidates for federal office and PACs, collect these contributions, and pay reimbursements for these contributions, in violation of the Election Act.”
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A source close to the investigation told the Observer the campaigns belonged to Ms. Clinton, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and then-Florida Congressman Kendrick Meek, who ran an unsuccessful U.S. Senate campaign in 2010.
Federal finance records show that a Mr. Chatwal contributed to Ms. Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign. Multiple individuals with the same last name and hotel employer also gave to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and a Democratic National Committee account, the records show.
The Observer reports that Chatwal also gave financial support to Joe Crowley, head of the DCCC, and Bill de Blasio’s mayoral campaign.
Chatwal was later alleged to have told a witness not to talk to the FBI or IRS agents.
Aside from the campaign contributions, Chatwal is well known in Democrat circles, having been invited as a guest to a state dinner for India in 2000 under President Clinton, as well as being invited to President Obama’s first state dinner.
Chatwal faced up to 25 years in prison but according to the Huffington Post will only see a maximum of 6 years due to the plea deal in a Brooklyn federal court.