Guilty plea in ‘election for sale’ scheme

A California business executive pleaded guilty today in the District of Columbia for conspiring to make and conceal conduit and excessive campaign contributions during the U.S. presidential election in 2016 and thereafter.

According to the indictment and other court documents, Stevan Hill, 70, of Santa Monica, conspired with Ahmad “Andy” Khawaja, and others, between March 2016 and June 2018, to make unlawful contributions to several political committees, thereby circumventing contribution limits and causing the political committees to unwittingly submit false reports to the Federal Election Commission.

U.S. prosecutors charged Khawaja, a Lebanese American businessman, with 35 counts related to allegations that he conspired with George Nader, an adviser to the United Arab Emirates who acted as an intermediary for members of the Trump campaign seeking to forge contacts in the Middle East, to conceal the source of more than $3.5 million in campaign contributions directed to U.S. political committees associated with presidential candidates.

Specifically, according to admissions made in connection with Hill’s plea, in August 2016, Khawaja gave Hill $100,000 to contribute in Hill’s name to a political committee supporting a candidate running for U.S. president in the 2016 election cycle.

A statement released by the Justice Department did not name the committees or candidates. But federal donor records show that Khawaja is a major political contributor, who, since 2016, personally gave $3 million to Democratic candidates and groups — including $1 million to Priorities USA, the main super PAC supporting Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign — and $1 million to President Trump’s inaugural fund.

The purpose of making the contribution in Hill’s name was to allow Khawaja to exceed contribution limits set by federal law.

The contribution was made in connection with a political event hosted by Khawaja in October 2016.

In addition, Hill admitted that, in June 2017, Khawaja gave him approximately $50,000 to contribute in Hill’s name to another political committee. Again, the purpose of making the contribution in Hill’s name was to allow Khawaja to exceed contribution limits set by federal law.

Hill also admitted that, in January 2018, Khawaja gave him approximately $50,000 to contribute in Hill’s name to another political committee. Again, the purpose of making the contribution in Hill’s name was to allow Khawaja to exceed contribution limits set by federal law. The contribution was made in connection with a political event hosted by Khawaja in March 2018.  

Hill pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to make conduit contributions, make excessive contributions, cause false statements to be made, and cause false entries in records. He is scheduled to be sentenced at a later date and faces a statutory maximum of five years in prison. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors. Charges remain pending against Khawaja, who is a fugitive, and others in the indictment.

Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite Jr. of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and Assistant Director in Charge Steven M. D’Anutono of the FBI’s Washington Field Office made the announcement.

The FBI’s Washington Field Office is investigating the case.

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