Wednesday, February 18, 2009

R. Allen Stanford's ties to local politicians

The latest billionaire to be charged with investment fraud is Texas billionaire R. Allen Stanford, who has given generously to both political parties over the years in the hopes of receiving political favors. From Wall St. Journal:
Texas businessman R. Allen Stanford, whose multibillion-dollar investment empire was ordered seized Monday by a federal judge, has long enjoyed big influence in Washington thanks to a steady supply of campaign contributions, Caribbean trips for lawmakers and fees to lobbying firms.

Mr. Stanford and his affiliated companies have spent more than $5 million on lobbying fees since 2000, federal records show. The businessman and his top executives have also contributed at least $2 million to candidates, including key lawmakers, and additional thousands of dollars on jets and resorts...For the past few years, Mr. Stanford...has been lobbying to preserve and expand tax rules that enable him to pay minimal federal income taxes as a resident there, according to lobbyists. While allies of Mr. Stanford in Congress have managed to fend off attacks on rules, his efforts to expand them further have thus far been unsuccessful, lobbyists said.
Among the recipients of R. Allen Stanford's donations are John Cornyn and Pete Sessions. From Dallas Morning News:
R. Allen Stanford has given generously to Texas lawmakers in both parties. And his company bankrolled a four-day visit to a Caribbean resort island for U.S. Sen. John Cornyn in 2004.

"It was strictly a fact-finding trip. They have offices in Houston, and they were doing a lot of business out of Antigua," said Cornyn spokesman Kevin McLaughlin...Cornyn received $19,700, making him the fifth-largest recipient, according to an analysis by the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics.

U.S. Rep. Pete Sessions, R-Dallas, was the second-biggest recipient, collecting $41,375 – nearly all of it in the final weeks of the 2004 race against then-Rep. Martin Frost.

A Sessions aide declined to comment.
Probably no repercussions against politicians who accepted donations from him, the real scandal is that this is another Madoff-style investment fraud swindle. Read more about it at Financial Times, UK, and keep up with the latest news of the ongoing manhunt at ABC News.

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