Rep. Weldon Probed Over Contracts for His Daughter

McClatchy Newspapers
Saturday, October 14, 2006

The Justice Department is investigating whether Rep. Curt Weldon (R-Pa.) traded his political influence for lucrative lobbying and consulting contracts for his daughter, according to sources with direct knowledge of the inquiry.

The FBI has formally referred the matter to the department's Public Integrity Section for additional scrutiny. At issue are Weldon's efforts between 2002 and 2004 to aid two Russian companies and two Serbian brothers with ties to former Yugoslavian president Slobodan Milosevic, a federal law enforcement official said.

The Russian companies and a Serbian foundation run by the brothers' family each hired a firm co-owned by Weldon's daughter, Karen, for fees totaling nearly $1 million a year, public records show.

Karen Weldon was 28 and lacked consulting experience when she and Charles Sexton, a Weldon ally and longtime Republican leader in Delaware County, Pa., created the firm Solutions North America Inc. in 2002. Both are registered with the Justice Department as representatives of foreign clients.

Word of the inquiry, which has been closely held within the Justice Department and the FBI, came from two people with specific knowledge of the existence of the investigation. They both spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the confidentiality of criminal investigations.

Spokesmen for the FBI and the Justice Department declined to confirm or deny that an inquiry is underway.

Two years ago, the Los Angeles Times examined Curt Weldon's parallel efforts in Congress on behalf of the Russian and Serbian clients of his daughter, prompting the House ethics committee to briefly explore the issue.

Weldon, his daughter and Sexton all declined to respond to requests for an interview.

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