The Hill reported Tuesday that the FBI is investigating allegations that a prominent donor to Democratic Senate candidate Patrick Murphy may have been involved in a scheme to bypass federal campaign contribution limits in 2011 during Murphy’s first run for his House seat.
According to the Hill, there is no evidence that Murphy was “involved in or even aware” of the scheme. Murphy’s campaign told the Hill that Murphy nor the campaign was being investigated by the FBI.
“This complaint was written by a Republican super PAC willing to say anything to elect Marco Rubio,” Murphy campaign spokesman Joshua Karp told the Hill. “Neither Patrick nor any current or past employees have ever been contacted regarding this matter, and we are confident an examination of the facts will result in its dismissal.”
The Hill reported the investigation relates to whether Murphy’s high school friend and major donor Ibrahim Al-Rashid used other people’s names to personally donate more money to Murphy than what is legally permitted.
The tactic, called a “straw scheme,” involves a rich donor making campaign contributions under someone else’s name to avoid federal campaign finance limits. Under campaign finance law it is both illegal to donate money in someone else’s name as well as to know that someone is illegally donating money in your name.
The Hill reported that the Senate Leadership Fund, a Republican super PAC, originally first flagged the alleged campaign finance violation.
“The Senate Leadership Fund claimed in its June complaint to the Federal Election Commission (FEC) that 11 donors in Texas, Pennsylvania and Florida “participated in an unlawful scheme to funnel Ibrahim Al-Rashid’s contributions, or were used by Al-Rashid to funnel contributions without their knowledge.” A total of $24,050 was involved,” the Hill wrote.
One of the things that the Senate Leadership Fund complaint alleged was that there were “inconsistent and changing employer and occupation information listed for some of these contributors suggests that some may not have been aware that they made the reported contributions.”
Specifically, in one case the Hill noted that a contribution of $300 dollars was made by a woman who was allegedly an owner of a limestone company when in fact the woman’s name matched Al-Rashid’s maid.
The Hill reported that Al-Rashid could not be reached for comment.