Lawmakers rebuff pleas to return funds from alleged Ponzi schemer
While Allen Stanford was flying high, he and his colleagues spent more than $10 million on campaign contributions and lobbying payments to curry favor in Washington. But all that money was diverted from investors in what authorities have called an elaborate Ponzi scheme, second only to Bernard Madoff’s in U.S. history, according to court documents.
The receiver, Dallas lawyer Ralph S. Janvey, has been able to recover only about 5 percent of the political contributions he has targeted. Four of the principal national Republican and Democratic fundraising committees took in $1.6 million in Stanford donations, but they are vigorously fighting demands that they return it.
At least 50 members of the House and Senate have either ignored restitution demands or donated some of Stanford’s campaign contributions to charity instead, according to the receiver and a survey by The Washington Post. Included are House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.); Senate Rules Committee Chairman Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.); Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), who chairs a Finance Committee subcommittee; and Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex.), a member of the Judiciary Committee.