Political Groups Asked to Return Stanford Donations
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
FORT WORTH, Feb. 23 -- The court-appointed receiver for R. Allen Stanford's financial group asked national political committees Monday to return campaign contributions they took from the disgraced Texas billionaire.
Letters were sent Monday to the Republican National Committee, National Republican Senatorial Committee, National Republican Congressional Committee, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.
"I hereby request your committee return to the receivership estate all campaign contributions made by Mr. Stanford or the other defendants to your committee," receiver Ralph S. Janvey wrote. "By returning such amounts to the receivership estate, you will help reduce the losses suffered by victims of the alleged fraud."
Stanford, accused in a Securities and Exchange Commission civil lawsuit of a "massive" fraud, was served with legal papers by FBI agents last week but has not been charged with any crime. The SEC said Stanford peddled sham promises and funneled investors' money into real estate and other assets not easily turned into cash.
The letters included a list of dozens of senators and representatives and the individual contributions, ranging from $250 to $45,900. The committee contributions ranged from $133,345 to $965,000.
Spokesmen for the Republican National Committee and the National Republican Congressional Committee said they had not seen Janvey's letter yet and had no immediate comment. Spokesmen for the other committees could not immediately be reached for comment Monday night.
Last week, the U.S. District Court in Dallas appointed Janvey as the receiver to take control of the assets of Stanford's businesses.
Thomas Ajamie, a Houston attorney representing some of Stanford's customers seeking redress, said Monday night that Janvey's attempt at recovering the contributions is "highly unusual."
Ajamie said it's unclear whether the committees or politicians would be legally required to return the funds and that Janvey's move could be meant to "embarrass them into giving the money back."
As news of Stanford's alleged scam surfaced last week, some lawmakers quickly announced that they would donate his campaign contributions to charity. The Stanford Financial Group, through its political action committee and employees, has given $2.4 million to candidates, parties and committees in the United States since 1989, with nearly two-thirds going to Democrats, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, which tracks campaign spending.
Most of that cash flowed during the 2002 election cycle, when Congress was debating a financial services antifraud bill that would have linked the databases of state and federal banking, securities and insurance regulators.
Marcy Gordon in Washington contributed to this report.