President Barack Obama’s choice to be the next attorney general, Loretta Lynch, has asked a federal judge to impose a prison term of four and a half years on one of Hillary Clinton’s biggest fundraisers for illegal contributions made to Clinton’s 2008 campaign, according to Yahoo!’s Michael Isikoff.
Hotel magnate Sant Singh Chatwal had requested leniency from prosecutors on charges that he made more than $180,000 in illegal contributions to the Clinton campaign, but Lynch made clear this week that leniency would not be granted.
“The evidence in this case reveals a man who believes that either the rules do not apply to him or that they can be subverted in pursuit of his own ends,” wrote Lynch in a court memo regarding Chatwal.
Chatwal joins a long list of major fundraisers for Clinton that have now been indicted for making illegal contributions to her campaigns.
William P. Danielczyk Jr., chairman of the Galen Capital Group, was indicted in 2011 on charges that his company illegally reimbursed nearly $190,000 worth of contributions made to Clinton.
Clinton was also forced to return $850,000 in donations linked to Norman Hsu, a Democratic fundraiser who was convicted for using “straw donors” to funnel contributions to candidates. Hsu also pled guilty to charges that he was running a Ponzi scheme.
Clinton’s 2008 national finance director, Hassan Nemazee, was sentenced to 12 years in prison for fraud charges.
The Washington Post explains:
Another major Clinton fundraiser, Manhattan investment banker Hassan Nemazee, was sentenced to 12 years in prison last year for defrauding banks of nearly $300 million. Some of the funds were given to Democratic politicians, including Clinton, Barack Obama and Joe Biden, court records showed.
Nemazee was national finance chairman for Clinton’s 2008 campaign and served as New York finance chairman for the failed 2004 presidential bid by Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.).
Clinton, Obama and other politicians either returned most of Nemazee’s contributions or donated them to charity after his arrest, court records show. Hundreds of thousands of dollars in other donations to charitable foundations–including one headed by Clinton’s husband, former president Bill Clinton–were forfeited to the government.
Lynch’s rejection of Chatwal’s plea in court that he was “filled with remorse and shame for what he has done” signals that as attorney general she would take a hard stance against illegal campaign contributions.
Isikoff notes that Lynch’s strong statement against a major Democratic fundraiser could ease her efforts to make it through Republican lawmakers during the confirmation process.
The request by Loretta Lynch, the U.S. attorney in Brooklyn, to reject leniency for wealthy hotelier Sant Singh Chatwal and have him sent to federal prison is the latest example of the tough stance Justice Department prosecutors are taking with those convicted of making so-called conduit contributions — campaign cash that is falsely reported as being made in the name of others.
But the court filing by Lynch’s office this week also comes at a time when she is facing a potentially tough grilling from Republican lawmakers on her nomination to succeed Attorney General Eric Holder. “It won’t hurt for Loretta Lynch to be sending a major Democratic fundraiser to prison right before her confirmation hearing for attorney general,” said Brett Kappel, a Washington campaign-finance lawyer who closely tracks federal election law enforcement.