Donor Pleads Guilty to Giving $180,000 in Contributions Through Others

Posted April 18, 2014 at 10:15am

A New York hotel magnate pleaded guilty Thursday to making $180,000 in contributions through straw donors to three federal campaigns.  

Sant Singh Chatwal  pleaded guilty to conspiracy to violate the Federal Election Campaign Act by giving in the names of others, and for witness tampering. He agreed to forfeit $1 million.  

From 2007 to 2011, Chatwal, founder of Hampshire Hotels Management LLC, and founder of the Bombay Palace restaurant, operated several businesses, including restaurants, hotels and a hotel management company. He used his employees, business associates, and contractors who performed work for Chatwall Associates, to solicit contributions on Chatwal’s behalf in support of various candidates and PACs, collect these contributions, and pay reimbursements on these contributions.  

During a recorded conversation with a business associate who became an informant, Chatwal talked about the importance of political contributions, saying without campaign contributions, “nobody will even talk to you… That’s the only way to buy them, get into the system…”  

View U.S. Attorney’s press release .  

Other news reports indicated the recipients of the contributions were Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign, former Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., and former Rep. Kendrick Meek, D-Fla.