At least 14 Republican candidates and groups directly received a total of $675,500 in campaign contributions last year from Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, the Soviet-born Florida businessmen indicted this week on campaign-finance violations.
Federal prosecutors in Manhattan say six of their donations involved either a shell company used to hide the men’s identities or foreign money meant to curry favor with U.S. politicians. The pair made numerous contributions between February and July, many of them to umbrella political groups that then parceled out money to dozens of GOP politicians, a Wall Street Journal review of state fundraising and Federal Election Commission records found.
“It appears that Fruman and Parnas made their political contributions in order to buy access and advance their own interests, and in some instances the interests of foreign officials,” said Brendan Fischer, director of federal reform at the Campaign Legal Center, which filed a complaint with the FEC in July 2018 about the fundraising activities of Messrs. Parnas and Fruman. “Every single one of these contributions is suspect because they were made with an ulterior motive.”