Ninth Circuit Affirms Former Nevada Lobbyist’s Conviction for Making Unlawful Campaign Contributions
WASHINGTON—The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit today affirmed the convictions of a former Nevada lobbyist for making excessive campaign contributions and contributions in the name of another person, announced Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney Daniel G. Bogden of the District of Nevada.
“We’re pleased that today’s decision confirms that the cornerstones of our campaign finance laws—contribution limits and transparency—are not subject to creative misinterpretations of those determined to break the law,” said Assistant Attorney General Caldwell.
“Harvey Whittemore knew the law, he knew how to raise money the right way, he knew right from wrong, and he knew how he could violate the law and avoid detection,” said U.S. Attorney Bogden. “He made a conscious and willful choice to violate federal elections laws in order to increase his own power and influence at the expense of the voting public and the election process.”
F. Harvey Whittemore, 62, of Reno, Nevada, a prominent Nevada lawyer, former lobbyist and land developer, was convicted by a jury in the District of Nevada in May 2013 of making excessive campaign contributions, making contributions in others’ names, and causing a materially false statement to be made to the Federal Election Commission (FEC). He was sentenced on Sept. 30, 2013, to two years in prison and a $100,000 fine.
According to evidence presented at trial, Whittemore was aware of the strict limits on individual federal campaign contributions. In an effort to circumvent those limits, he devised a scheme to unlawfully funnel more than $130,000 of his own money through approximately 29 family members, employees and their spouses to the campaign committee for a U.S. senator. This scheme allowed Whittemore to make an individual campaign donation in excess of the federal limits. Whittemore concealed the scheme from the FEC, the senator, and the senator’s campaign committee.
The case was investigated by the FBI and prosecuted by Deputy Chief Eric G. Olshan of the Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section and First Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven W. Myhre of the District of Nevada. Appellate Chief and Assistant U.S. Attorney Elizabeth Olson White of the District of Nevada argued the appeal.