OK

This is my first diary and I'll keep it short.  I just want to draw attention to a story written by Washington Post staff writer Matthew Mosk that is apparently slated to appear on Page A01 of the August 6th edition of the Washington Post.

The article doesn't come right out and say it but there is a clear implication that campaign contributions, possibly from foreign citizens, were being illegally funneled to John McCain, among others, by a man with strong ties to both big oil and Florida governor Charlie Crist.  

More details after the jump.

Update #1: After initially being buried as a bullet item, this story is now the top Campaign 2008 story on WashingtonPost.com. I'm not holding my breath but let's hope it gets picked up by other media outlets!

Update #2:This story is now the lead on The Page but I have a problem with the way it is being presented. After saying "a well-connected Florida businessman helps raise thousands" (first of all, that should be "tens of thousands") it then softens the impact by including only a partial quote from the money man: "I ask my friends to support candidates that I think are worthy of supporting. They usually come through for me." Ah, isn't that nice? Friends coming through for friends.  But they leave out the first part of that same quote where he describes his friends as "Arab business partners."

Original Post

According to Mosk, Harry Sargeant III, who is described "as a former naval officer and the owner of an oil-trading company that recently inked defense contracts potentially worth more than $1 billion" has bundled donations from an "unlikely group" of donors.  

What makes them unlikely? For starters, they aren't high-paying executives with extra cash lying around. And considering that some of them aren't even registered voters and/or have expressed no interest whatsoever in the election, what are the chances they would scrape together enough money to make maximum campaign contributions to not just one but two and sometimes even three different candidates?

Nader, 39, and Sahar Alhawash, 28, of Colton, Calif, who at one point ran the Avon Village Liquor store, donated a total of $18,400 to Giuliani, Clinton and McCain between December and March. About 80 people in the country made such large contributions to all three, and most were wealthy business executives, such as Donald Trump. The Alhawashes declined to comment about the donations. Abdullah Abdullah, a supervisor at several Taco Bell restaurants in the Riverside area, and his wife have donated $9,200 to McCain.

Reached at work, Abdullah said he knows little about the presidential campaign. "I have no idea. I'll be honest with you," he said. "I'm involved in the restaurant business. My brother Faisel recommended John McCain. Whenever he makes a recommendation, we do it."

Even more troubling is this quote from Sargeant when asked to explain how he was able to persuade so many people of modest means to donate such large sums of money.

"I have a lot of Arab business partners. I do a lot of business in the Middle East. I've got a lot of friends," Sargeant said in a telephone interview yesterday. "I ask my friends to support candidates that I think are worthy of supporting. They usually come through for me."

Did he just admit that he is illegally funneling contributions from foreign citizens?!?!

Also, why was he bundling donations for Clinton as well as Giuliani and McCain? That seems odd, to say the least.  Could it be that he viewed Obama as the stronger candidate and was trying to swing the primary results in Clinton's favor in order to give the Republicans a better chance in the general election?  

I strongly encourage everybody to read the full story on WashingtonPost.com.  

Originally posted to bradams on Tue Aug 05, 2008 at 08:50 PM PDT.

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