Reimbursements for donations is an illegal way to skirt donation limits. During the 2008 election, the McCain campaign gave back a set of donations after suspicions surfaced that a bundler was reimbursing individual donors.
The claim in the Vitter situation comes from Jamal Ogbe, former finance director for California-based U.S. Dry Cleaning Corporation.Ogbe was one of several company employees who last summer gave Vitter around $35,000 total in an effort, he says, to gain federal dollars for the company from the Small Business Administration. (Vitter serves on the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee.)
There's no evidence that Vitter did anything on behalf of the company. U.S. Dry Cleaning describes itself as "the largest owner and operator of dry cleaning stores in the nation."
Neither Ogbe nor U.S. Dry Cleaning CEO Robbie Lee immediately responded to requests for comment.