A federal judge Thursday sentenced Babulal Bera, 83, of La Palma, California, to 12 months in prison for making excessive campaign contributions using a fake name to his son’s political campaign, officials said.
According to court documents, in 2010 and 2012, Bera’s son Rep. Ami Bera (D-Elk Grove) was a candidate for a seat in the U.S. Congress representing District 3 and District 7, respectively, from the state of California.
The Los Angeles Times reported that Bera, who was elected to congress, was not in the courtroom to see his father convicted of the two counts of federal campaign finance violations. The two-term Democrat has denied knowing anything about the secret donations and has expressed disappointment in his father’s actions.
“The district court gave thorough and thoughtful consideration to the arguments of both parties in imposing sentence,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert. “That sentence, which is significant given this defendant’s age, sends a clear message that campaign finance crimes are serious offenses that will result in real consequences.”
With respect to both elections, the Babulal Bera made the maximum allowable individual contributions to his son’s campaign and he also solicited friends, family members and acquaintances to make contributions, which he then reimbursed with his own funds.
Bera did this to make contributions to his son’s campaign in excess of the contribution limits established by federal law, according to officials.
With respect to the 2010 and 2012 elections, the government has identified over 130 improper campaign contributions totaling more than $260,000 and involving approximately 90 contributors living in multiple states.
In following the prosecution’s sentencing recommendations, the judge balanced the serious nature of Bera’s offense with the defendant’s advanced age and associated health issues. The court said the defendant’s conduct was “calculated” and “cuts to the heart of the integrity we expect of elections.”
“Mr. Babulal Bera knew the law when it came to campaign contributions, but he tried to beat the system using straw donors,” said Special Agent in Charge Monica Miller of the FBI’s Sacramento, California, Field Office. “His sentence demonstrates the U.S. government takes these crimes seriously and will spare no effort to defend the integrity of the electoral process which is the foundation of American democracy.”Warning: file_get_contents(): https:// wrapper is disabled in the server configuration by allow_url_fopen=0 in /hermes/bosnacweb02/bosnacweb02af/b360/ipg.sbnotebookcom/wp-content/themes/goodnews5/framework/functions/posts_share.php on line 151 Warning: file_get_contents(https://plusone.google.com/_/+1/fastbutton?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.cjnotebook.com%2Fman-sentenced-for-making-illegal-contributions-to-sons-congressional-campaign%2F): failed to open stream: no suitable wrapper could be found in /hermes/bosnacweb02/bosnacweb02af/b360/ipg.sbnotebookcom/wp-content/themes/goodnews5/framework/functions/posts_share.php on line 151