Business Owner Pleads Guilty to Violating Campaign Finance Law, Admits Concealing Source of More Than $125,000 in Contributions
Defendant is Second to Plead Guilty to Charges Within Past Week
|U.S. Attorney’s Office June 24, 2013|
WASHINGTON—Stanley L. Straughter, the owner of a business based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, pled guilty today to a federal charge stemming from a scheme in which he and others helped conceal the actual source of more than $125,000 in campaign contributions.
The guilty plea was announced by U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen, Jr.; Valerie Parlave, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office; and Thomas J. Kelly, Special Agent in Charge of the Washington Field Office of the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI).
Straughter, 71, of Philadelphia, pled guilty in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to one count of knowingly and willfully making, and aiding and abetting and causing to be made, unlawful corporate campaign contributions to federal campaigns. The Honorable Colleen Kollar-Kotelly scheduled a status hearing for September 25, 2013. The misdemeanor charge carries a statutory maximum of one year of imprisonment and financial penalties. As part of the plea agreement, Straughter agreed to cooperate in the continuing investigation.
Straughter is the second person to plead guilty to charges within the past week. Lee A. Calhoun, 65, an executive for a Washington, D.C.-based company, pled guilty on June 20, 2013, to a misdemeanor charge involving more than $150,000 in campaign contributions.
According to a statement of offense, signed by the defendant as well as the government, during the relevant time period of the offense, Straughter was the owner and operator of Oak Lane Consulting Group, a for-profit corporation based in Philadelphia. Oak Lane provided marketing and consulting services as an independent contractor to a company identified as “Company A” in the statement of offense. Company A was led by an individual identified as “Executive A,” who was the firm’s chairman, chief executive pfficer, and majority owner.
Beginning in or about January 2006 and continuing until in or about February 2012, according to the statement of offense, Straughter used his name and the names of his relatives to conceal campaign contributions made by Company A to federal, District of Columbia, and other political campaign committees and political action committees. Straughter also used the name of Oak Lane Consulting Group to conceal campaign contributions made by Company A to political campaign committees in non-federal elections that allowed corporate contributions.
Straughter admitted that he knowingly and willfully permitted both his and others’ names to be used to conceal the true source of these contributions at the direction of Executive A and others acting at the behest of Executive A. He knew that he would be reimbursed for the contributions by Executive A and Company A with Company A funds.
“Today’s guilty plea pushes the confirmed dollar figure of illegal campaign contributions in this scheme above $300,000,” said U.S. Attorney Machen. “We are encouraged that Mr. Straughter acknowledged responsibility for participating in this scheme and has agreed to cooperate with the government. Our investigation into these matters continues.”
“With today’s guilty plea, Mr. Straughter took responsibility for his role in a scheme in which he eluded campaign finance laws and concealed the true source of more than $125,000 in campaign contributions,” said Assistant Director in Charge Parlave. “The FBI will continue to work together with our partners to ensure fairness and honesty in political campaigns and elections, and we will pursue those who attempt to evade the system.”
During the calendar years 2007 through 2012, according to the statement of offense, Straughter caused at least $58,600 in federal political contributions from Company A to be made in his name and the names of his relatives, including contributions to political action committees and the campaign committees of candidates who were running for president of the United States, the U.S. Senate, and the U.S. House of Representatives.
Through this scheme, Executive A, Company A, Straughter, and others caused various campaigns and political action committees to file reports with the Federal Election Commission that did not reveal the true source of the unlawful campaign contributions.
Additionally, according to the statement of offense, during calendar years 2006 through 2011, Straughter caused at least $49,000 in District of Columbia political contributions from Company A to be made in his name, the names of his relatives, and Oak Lane Consulting Group. These included contributions to the campaign committees of candidates running for mayor and the council of the District of Columbia, among other elected offices.
Finally, according to the statement of offense, during calendar years 2007 through 2011, Straughter made more than $25,000 in political contributions in his name, the names of family members, and Oak Lane Consulting Group for local and state political candidates and campaigns in other states, localities, and U.S. territories for which Executive A caused Company A to reimburse him.
In announcing the plea, U.S. Attorney Machen, Assistant Director in Charge Parlave, and Special Agent in Charge Kelly commended those who investigated the case from the FBI’s Washington Field Office and IRS-CI.
They also expressed appreciation to those who worked on the case from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, including Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jonathan W. Haray, Ellen Chubin Epstein, Lionel André, Jonathan Hooks, and Ted L. Radway; former Assistant U.S. Attorney Mary Chris Dobbie; and Paralegal Specialists Anne Riopelle, Shanna Hays, Krishawn Graham, Lenisse Edloe, Nicole Wattelet, Corinne Laxman, and Angela Lawrence. Finally, they thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys Loyaan A. Egal and Ephraim (Fry) Wernick, who are prosecuting the case.