Federal government investigates whether defense contractor illegally funded re-election of Senator Susan Collins

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Topline

The FBI is investigating whether the former CEO of a Hawaii defense contractor illegally funneled six-figure donations to the re-election campaign of Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine) last year and to a PAC, which supported her, several news organizations reported on Tuesday.

Highlights

Last week, the FBI unveiled a search warrant request against Martin Kao, the former CEO of defense contractor Navatek, the the Wall Street newspaper, Washington post and Axios reported Tuesday night.

The warrant request suggests that Kao reimbursed others for making approximately $ 45,000 in campaign donations from Collins, violating a federal law that prohibits Americans from making “straw donations” to political campaigns on behalf of Collins. ‘other people.

Kao is also believed to have used a limited liability company to direct $ 150,000 from Navatek to a pro-Collins political action committee.

It is illegal for defense contractors to donate to political campaigns.

The warrant application accuses Collins of nothing, and spokeswoman Annie Clark said Forbes that the Collins campaign “had absolutely no knowledge of anything alleged in the warrant.”

A lawyer representing Kao in another federal case did not respond to a request for comment.

Tangent

Separately, Kao was accused last year of fraudulently receiving millions of dollars in federal Covid-19 relief loans. He allegedly transferred $ 2 million in federal loans to his personal account and overstated the number of employees at his request.

Key context

Collins sits on the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee which oversees defense spending. Shortly before Kao funneled money to a pro-Collins PAC, the senator’s office touted an $ 8 million contract awarded to Navatek in Maine, Axios reported in January.

Further reading

FBI probes defense contractor’s contributions to Senator Susan Collins (Wall Street Journal)



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