President Obama‘s 2008 campaign organization is refusing to return $4,600 in contributions it received from R. Allan Stanford, whose wealth allegedly stemmed from a $7 billion Ponzi scheme.
A federal court order has been filed against five major political party-related campaign organizations to return money they received from Stanford, Reuters reported. Obama’s campaign is refusing to comply, as are the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, the National Republican Congressional Committee, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the Republican National Committee, and the National Republican Senatorial Committee. (RELATED: Full coverage of Barack Obama)
A court-appointed receiver is going after an estimated $1.6 million in outstanding donations overall, more than half of which — a whopping $950,500 — went to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.
House Speaker John Boehner, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Sen. John McCain have already returned their doations from Stanford.
The court-appointed receiver has not yet sued the Obama campaign for the $4,600, Reuters reported. The campaign instead donated the funds to charity days after Stanford was accused of fraud in February 2009.
“The money was never theirs to begin with,” said Kevin Sadler, lead counsel for the Stanford receivership. He compared the former Houston financier to “a guy who goes into a Seven Eleven and robs the store,” and said that the Obama campaign does not have the right to do anything with stolen money.
“If there is a clear trail, they can be forced to give the money back,” said Meredith McGehee, the policy director for the non-profit Campaign Legal Center. It will be difficult for the prosecution to prove that the money donated to the campaigns was illicitly obtained.