Major Hillary donor pleads guilty on fundraising

A Democrat donor who raised at least $100,000 for Hillary Clinton has pleaded guilty to more than $180,000 in illegal campaign donations and coaching someone to lie about it. Tom Hayes of the Associated Press reports:

An informant caught Sant Singh Chatwal on tape in 2010 explaining that he believed his illegal fundraising bought him access to people in power.

Without the contributions "nobody will even talk to you," Chatwal said. "That's the only way to buy them, get into the system."

Chatwal entered the plea to evading contribution limits and witness tampering in federal court in Brooklyn as part of a plea deal. He faces a maximum of nearly six years in prison at sentencing on July 31 and must forfeit $1 million. He free on $750,000 bond secured by property in Manhattan.

There are some details that, for some reason, are being kept from the public. The three candidates to whom he made the illegal donations have not been revealed, and Chatwal was spared the ordeal of describing his crime in court.

On the record, Chatwal raised least $100,000 for Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton's 2008 presidential campaign against Barack Obama and was among the celebrities, major Democratic fundraisers and businessmen invited to Obama's first state dinner.

Chatwal also was a guest at then-President Bill Clinton's state dinner for India in 2000 and helped arrange an earthquake-relief visit by the former president to India in 2001.

Court papers allege that between 2007 and 2011, Chatwal used his employees, business associates and contractors who worked on his hotels to collect contributions from straw donors in Queens, Long Island and elsewhere. He then arranged to pay the donors back, a violation of the election laws.

As part the scheme, an unnamed business associate submitted a bill to Chatwal for $104,745 in 2011 for purported work done for one of Chatwal's companies. Prosecutors allege that $69,000 of the total actually was reimbursement for money the associate had raised via straw donors.

Culture of corruption, anyone?

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