Public Citizen Calls for Investigation of Possible Money Laundering in Kentucky’s 4th Congressional District Race

April 22, 2004

Public Citizen Calls for Investigation of Possible Money Laundering in Kentucky’s 4th Congressional District Race

 

Conservative Religious PACs Appear to Have Funneled Funds From One Contributor to Geoff Davis Campaign

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Public Citizen today filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) calling for an investigation into possible money laundering by a wealthy contributor and six political action committees in support of the Geoffrey Davis campaign in Kentucky’s 4th Congressional district.

Quentin Nesbitt of Cincinnati, Ohio, a wealthy supporter of conservative religious candidates in federal elections, appears to have been the source of $19,000 in direct and indirect campaign contributions to the Geoff Davis campaign thus far in the 2004 election cycle.

Nesbitt has made $4,000 in direct contributions to Davis in the 2004 election cycle, the maximum contribution allowed for individuals for both the primary and general elections combined. He later gave another $15,000 to six conservative PACs, the total sum of which ended up in Davis’ campaign coffers within days or weeks afterward.

Nesbitt donated a total of $15,000 in the 2004 election cycle to six PACs: Family First (an anti-abortion organization); Campaign for Working Families (Gary Bauer’s political action committee); Milead Fund (leadership PAC of U.S. Rep. Peter Hoekstra (R-Mich.)); Majority Initiative to Keep Electing Republicans (leadership PAC of U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.)); MIKE PAC (leadership PAC of Rep. Mike Ferguson (R-N.J.)); and Carolina Majority PAC (leadership PAC of Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.)). Five of these PACs then contributed a total of $15,000 to the Davis campaign. All but one of the transfers by these PACs to the Davis campaign occurred within nine days or less after receipt of the donations from Nesbitt.

“It’s hard to see a legitimate explanation of these transfers of funds,” said Frank Clemente, director of Public Citizen’s Congress Watch. “In one instance, Mr. Nesbitt gave Family First a $5,000 donation and the group then contributed $5,000 to the Davis campaign the same day. Family First had no other financial activity all year, other than to take Mr. Nesbitt’s $5,000 and immediately give it to Davis.”

Davis is running for the Republican nomination against moderate Republican Kevin Murphy and maverick John Kelly King. Whoever wins the Republican nomination is likely to face Nick Clooney, the only candidate running for the Democratic nomination, in the November general election. Nick Clooney is father of the actor, George Clooney, and the brother of the late singer and actress Rosemary Clooney.

“Not only are the transfers of funds from Nesbitt to the PACs to the Davis campaign in the exact amounts and closely timed, but many of these PACs share the same post office box and the same treasurer,” said Craig Holman, legislative representative for Public Citizen’s Congress Watch. “Every appearance is that these groups are working closely in tandem with each other and Mr. Nesbitt to evade the contribution limits.”

The complaint further asks the FEC to investigate whether the possible money laundering scheme documented in the complaint extends beyond Kentucky’s 4th Congressional district.

Click here to view a copy of the complaint.

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