Saturday, November 18

They never knew they were donors
Feds probe "straw contributions" to Puerto Rican official

Last year, Aníbal Acevedo Vilá was elected Governor of Puerto Rico. Before becoming Governor, Acevedo was elected resident commissioner in 2000 which serves as the Commonwealth's nonvoting representative in Congress.

For several months the FBI has been investigating donations made to his 2000 election. On Thursday the Puerto Rican office of Secretary of State Fernando Bonilla was ordered to turn over all documents -- including checks, e-mails, faxes and handwritten notes -- on more than 60 individuals or companies tied to a handful of Philadelphia fundraisers.

Frances Robles at the Miami Herald reports that federal investigators are trying to determine whether ''straw contributions'' -- donations illegally made under another person's name -- were made in order to bypass federal campaign donation limits.

A June report by the Philadelphia Inquirer showed that several Pennsylvania dental company employees listed as contributors on Acevedo's campaign finance reports had said they never gave money to the campaign.

The investigation so far has centered around Philadelphia dentist Candido Negron and his business associate, Robert M. Feldman, a Philadelphia Democratic Party fundraiser who once co-hosted a fundraiser for Acevedo Vilá.

Feldman and Negron are under scrutiny because they were seeking a contract from the island's government healthcare system for Doral Dental, a Wisconsin-based company that has paid them hundreds of thousands of dollars in commissions, the Inquirer reported.

It seems like someone forgot to tell the donors that they were actually even donors.

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