Politicians Asked to Return Dirty Donations

By: Timothy McFarlin | Published: May 5th, 2010 | Category: Bankruptcy

Attorneys working on the law firm of Scott Rothstein’s bankruptcy case, have written to Florida Republican Party, Gov. Charlie Crist and some other politicians, demanding they return the $650,000+ in campaign donations, made by the firm. The lawyers sent a letter to 60 political groups and candidates for local, state and federal offices, demanding the dirty donations be returned to the, now, defunct firm, Rothstein Rosenfeldt Adler—by May 7th. The lawyers are working on behalf of victims of Rothstein’s shady Ponzi scheme.

The letter demanded $237,000 from the Florida Republican Party and $500 from politicians who include Crist, Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado, Sen. Dan Gelber, Broward County Commissioner Stacy Ritter and Broward State Attorney Michael Satz.

Katie Betta, a spokeswoman for the Florida Republican Party, said the party had not yet received the letter and she was unable to respond—what else could she say? However, recently, she has said the Florida GOP returned nearly $90,000 in law firm contributions, $40,000 of which from Scott Rothstein himself and another $5,000 from one of his companies, to proper authorities in the federal, criminal case.

Rothstein pleaded guilty back in January to racketeering and other charges for hatching and managing a $1.2 billion Ponzi scheme, from his firm. He will be sentenced in June.

Scott Rothstein had sold fabricated legal settlements during the past four years and used some proceeds for campaign contributions, mostly to Republican candidates and political action committees.

To lure investors, as part of his scheme, Rothstein developed “credibility” and trust by cuddling up to politicians, including Crist. He personally gave donations to politicians; his firm and some of its top lawyers as well as their wives also contributed big donations.

More than 30 lawyers from his firm, along with 15 other employees, spouses and relatives, all together spent, roughly, $2.2 million in state and federal campaign contributions during this elaborate Ponzi scheme which lasted from 2005 to 2009—according to public records.

Almost 40% of the money went to the McCain-Palin campaign in ‘08, which then passed along some of it to other political committees throughout the nation.

The bankruptcy lawyers’ letter focuses only on campaign donations by Rothstein’s law firm, and not from the individuals who worked there.

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