Employees of a Washington, D.C.-based accounting firm that federal prosecutors called an “assembly line for illegal campaign contributions” donated more than $500,000 to federal candidates and committees over the past 10 years, including nearly $50,000 to Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign, according to a Center for Public Integrity review of records.
An employee and a consultant for the firm, formerly run by Jeffrey Thompson, pleaded guilty last month in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to making so-called straw donations to several federal and D.C. campaigns. The two men — Lee Calhoun and Stanley Straughter — made donations in their names and their family members’ names and were then reimbursed by Thompson or his firm, Thompson, Cobb, Bazilio & Associates.
The charges stem from a federal investigation of the 2010 campaign of Washington, D.C., Mayor Vincent Gray. At the center of the probe is Thompson, who has been implicated by prosecutors as the financier of an illegal, off-the-books $650,000 “shadow campaign” that federal prosecutors say helped get Gray elected.
An analysis of campaign finance records provided by the Center for Responsive Politics found that Thompson and other donors who listed the accounting firm as their employer have given at least $514,350 to federal candidates and political action committees since the 2002 campaign cycle, including $36,900 from Calhoun, the employee who pleaded guilty last month.
The biggest beneficiary of those funds was former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, whose campaigns took in $50,400. Clinton’s presidential campaign committee received $40,300 from employees at Thompson’s firm in November 2007, when she attended an intimate fundraiser at the company’s headquarters in downtown D.C., according to three people who were at the event.
Read more at The Center for Public Integrity. By Alan Suderman and Ben Wieder.