Trump's Mysterious Super-PAC Donor Accused of Breaking Law
(Bloomberg) -- Global Energy Producers LLC didn’t exist until April. A month later, before it had a working website, it was flush with enough cash to make one of the biggest donations of the year to America First Action Inc., a super-political action committee backing President Donald Trump’s agenda.
On Wednesday, the Washington-based nonprofit Campaign Legal Center filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission accusing the company and two businessmen with connections to Ukraine of violating campaign finance laws.
It’s unlikely Global Energy Producers had enough revenue or capital to make a $325,000 contribution so quickly, the complaint says. Under federal law, donors to political committees must use their own funds.
“The company is confident that it is in compliance with all relevant campaign finance laws,” Michael Marder, a lawyer for Global Energy Producers, said in an email. He said any action would be “vigorously defended.”
The complaint identifies Igor Fruman and Lev Parnas as the most likely sources of the money, based in part on other campaign contributions listing the company as their employer, but acknowledges there could be others. Because Global Energy Producers was incorporated in Delaware, it didn’t have to immediately disclose directors or information about its owners, making it difficult to determine its financial backers.
“People have discovered LLCs as a perfect mechanism to funnel money to campaigns without any disclosure or accountability,” said Ann Ravel, an FEC commissioner until last year. “They can easily receive money from foreign actors, and those people are not permitted to engage in political activity in the United States.”
America First Action, which calls itself the primary super-PAC backing the president’s agenda, used to employ the consulting firm owned by former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski. This week it hired Kimberly Guilfoyle, who’s dating Donald Trump Jr.
Fruman is a Russian-speaking businessman who deals in international trade. He has ties to Ukraine through a charitable group and serves as a channel between Trump and Kiev’s Jewish community, according to an interview he gave to a Russian-language outlet that’s cited in the complaint.
He and Parnas both met with Trump at a fundraising event, according to that outlet, which also published photographs of Fruman standing with Trump and the donor’s ID badge from a March event with the president at Mar-a-Lago.
Parnas is a former stockbroker who was facing eviction from his house in Florida earlier this year, according to another lawsuit. He worked for five brokerages that shut down after regulators accused them of lying, cheating customers and breaking industry rules, records show, and co-owned one of them. That’s not mentioned in his biography on the website for his business Fraud Guarantee, which advertises tools to protect investors.
“Mr. Parnas is proud of the fact that he enjoyed that tenure without a single professional complaint against his license or business,” it says about his brokerage days. He didn’t return messages, and the status of the eviction lawsuit was unclear.
Igor’s brother Steven has a connection to Global Energy Producers, according to public records. A house he owns is listed as the company’s address on a $50,000 donation to Friends of Ron DeSantis, a group backing the Republican congressman’s bid to be governor of Florida. All told, Global Energy Producers and its executives have given more than $440,000 this year to Republican candidates and groups backing them.
Steven Fruman was a manager of several companies accused in a successful civil suit of laundering money for an allegedly massive insurance fraud, though he wasn’t named as a defendant. He said in a call that he’s not involved in Global Energy Producers.
“I didn’t do this company,” he said. The address listed in the DeSantis donation is “false information.”
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