President Barack Obama and other politicians and campaign committees have yet to return donations from Houston financier R. Allen Stanford, who is currently on trial for allegedly running a $7 billion Ponzi scheme, Reuters reported on Monday.
The donations total $1.8 million, and were given out to some of Washington's most prominent committees and political figures by Stanford, his fellow executives at Stanford Financial, and from a PAC associated with the company, Slate reported.
Court-appointed receiver Ralph Janvey is working to collect the funds, which were distributed to some of the most powerful campaign committees in Washington, including the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, which received $950,500; the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC), $238,500; the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, $200,000; the Republican National Committee $128,500, and the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) $83,345, according to Reuters.
Rep. Pete Sessions, chairman of the NRCC, and Sen. John Cornyn, the chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee, also received money from Stanford, Reuters reported.
House Speaker John Boehner, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Sen. John McCain have already returned about $154,000 total, which is just is a fraction of the amount Stanford handed out.
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Obama received a $4,600 donation from Stanford himself, but may have collected up to $31,000 when Stanford's contributions to Obama's other campaign committees are included, according to Reuters.
The Obama campaign donated the $4,600 contribution to charity in 2009, days after Stanford's alleged fraud became public, Reuters reported.
Kevin Sadler, the lead counsel for the Stanford receivership, condemned the Obama campaign for failing to turn over the contributions.
"The money was never theirs to begin with," Sandler told Reuters. "They have no more right to the money than an ordinary person who was given it from a guy who goes into a Seven Eleven and robs the store."
Janvey wrote to Obama's campaign asking that the funds be returned to investors.
"If you have already donated such amounts to charity, we request you consider donating an equal amount to the Receivership," Janvey wrote, according to Reuters. "By returning such amounts to the Receivership Estate, you will help reduce the losses suffered by victims of the alleged fraud."
Stanford is on trial for allegedly siphoning $7 billion from investors, the second-largest Ponzi scheme in the nation's history, after Bernie Madoff's. He has denied taking money from investors, Reuters reported.
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