President Obama’s reelection campaign said Monday it will return more than $200,000 in contributions raised by two men, the brothers of a Mexican casino magnate who fled drug and fraud charges in the United States nearly two decades ago.
The move followed a report posted late Monday by the New York Times detailing fundraising efforts by the brothers of Juan Jose “Pepe” Rojas Cardona, who jumped bail in Iowa in 1994 and has since been linked to violence and corruption in Mexico.
Two of the fugitive’s brothers, Carlos and Alberto, both of the Chicago area, had emerged as top fundraisers for the Obama campaign, helping to raise more than $200,000, the Times report said.
“On the basis of the questions that have been raised, we will return the contributions from these individuals and from any other donors they brought to the campaign,” Obama spokesman Ben LaBolt said.
The newspaper did not identify any donations from Pepe Cardona. But it said that as recently as January 2011, Carlos Cardona had enlisted the help of a Democratic Party official in Iowa to request a pardon, which was not granted.