And you thought having Karl Rove on your team was bad.
According to The New York Times, the Obama camp is returning more than $200,000 in campaign donations raised by the relatives of a Mexican casino tycoon on the run for drug and fraud charges in the U.S.
The tycoon, Juan Jose Rojas Cardona, also known as Pepe, fled the U.S. in 1994 after being arrested and charged for attempting to smuggle marijuana into the country. He was also sentenced to five years in prison for defrauding associates in a telemarketing company he started and is a suspect behind the assassination of a business rival in Mexico.
The largest of these donations came from Cardona’s two American brothers who both gave the maximum $30,800 to the Democratic National Committee. Neither brother had any previous history of campaign fundraising but these contributions put them among the president’s biggest contributors.
The Obama camp assured that all donations came directly from the donors themselves, as opposed to from Cardona. But as late as Monday, the Obama camp said they were unaware of any ties to Cardona. Later in the day they said that they would be refunding the money.
“On the basis of the questions that have been raised, we will return the contributions from these individuals and from any other donors they brought to the campaign,” said Ben LaBolt, a spokesman for the Obama campaign.
So what does this loss mean for the Obama campaign? Not much. The president is already blowing away his Republican opponents in fundraising having already raised $125.2 million. His closest challenger Mitt Romney has only raised $56.1 million. The only ground he stands to lose here is on the PR front.
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