Follow The Money, Pt. II (UPDATED)

Yesterday I wrote about some of the shady donations being collected by the McCain-RNC campaign fund, particularly those being funneled through Republican bundler Harry Sargeant.

Well, today The New York Times follows up:

The Jordanian business partner of a prominent Florida businessman, who has raised more than $500,000 for Senator John McCain, appears to be at the center of a cluster of questionable donations to his presidential campaign.

Campaign finance records show Mr. McCain collected a little more than $50,000 in March from members of a single extended family, the Abdullahs, in California and several of their friends.

Amid a sea of contributions to the McCain campaign, the Abdullahs stand out. The checks come not from the usual exclusive coastal addresses, but from relatively hardscrabble inland towns like Downey and Colton. The donations are also startling because of their size: several donors initially wrote checks of $9,200, exceeding the $2,300 limit for an individual gift.


On Wednesday, an article in The Washington Post said the donations were collected by Harry Sargeant III, a Florida businessman


It appears, however, that Mr. Sargeant, the finance chairman of the Florida Republican Party and the part-owner of a major oil trading firm, International Oil Trading Company, did not actually solicit the donations from the Abdullahs and their friends.

That task fell to a longtime business partner, Mustafa Abu Naba’a. Mr. Sargeant said in an interview that he has known Mr. Abu Naba’a for more than a decade and has worked with him on commercial ventures, including a contract with the Pentagon to supply fuel to the military in Iraq.

[Emphasis added]

TPM did some digging and came up with some interesting information on that Pentagon military contract Mr. Sargeant netted:

That same contract to provide fuel for US troops in Iraq has been the subject of a lawsuit against Sargeant and Naba’a, coming from a business partner who is himself the brother-in-law of the King of Jordan. Their partner alleges that they shut him out of his rightful share of the profit after he arranged for the Jordanian government to only allow them in, despite having failed to give the lowest bid.

In other words, Sargeant and Naba’a are being sued for allegedly bilking their business partner out of his take on the deal.

[Emphasis added]

And their business partner happens to be related to the King of Jordan. Collecting money from men who bilked the brother-in-law of the King of Jordan out of money he was rightfully owed does not bode well for John McCain or a potential McCain administration.

Going back to the NY Times article, we find another series of questionable donations being unearthed:

Abdullah Makhlouf, the owner of a discount stereo store who is one of Mr. Abdullah’s closest friends, and his wife contributed $9,200.

“He’s like a worse copy than Bush,” Mr. Makhlouf said of Mr. McCain.

When a reporter initially contacted Mr. Makhlouf, he denied giving to the McCain campaign.

After eventually admitting to the donation, Mr. Makhlouf added, “I’m still not going to vote for him.”

[Emphasis added]

So Makhlouf supposedly donated $9,200 to McCain’s presidential bid, but when contacted about it he denied donating anything, then said John McCain would be worse than George W. Bush, then reluctantly admitted he gave money but said he won’t vote for McCain despite giving his campaign nearly $10,000.

I’ll say it again–someone needs to take a good hard look at where this money is coming from, and someone needs to start looking into Mr. Sargeant and Mr. Naba’a and their suspicious business practices.

UPDATE: AMERICAblog brings us this from The Washington Post:

A new question has surfaced this morning surrounding the bundling activity of Harry Sargeant, the Florida Republican who has raised more than $500,000 for the presidential campaign of Sen. John McCain — was it legal for his foreign co-worker to solicit political contributions?

The Post first reported on Sargeant’s efforts on behalf of McCain and other political candidates earlier this week. McCain’s campaign has credited Sargeant for collecting dozens of $2,300 and $4,600 checks, many of them from ordinary families in California. The manager of several Taco Bell restaurants, an auto mechanic, and the one-time owners of a liquor store all wrote big checks, even though many were not registered to vote.

Sargeant told The New York Times this morning that he at times left the task of collecting the checks to a longtime business partner, Mustafa Abu Naba’a. The problem with that is that Abu Naba’a is not an American citizen. According to court records, Abu Naba’a is a dual citizen of Jordan and the Dominican Republic.

[Emphasis added]

This story just keeps getting more and more disturbing as it goes…



  1. Pingback: Follow The Money, Pt. III «
  2. steve d · August 27, 2008

    Wasn’t Obama one who committed to public campaign financing only to withdraw from it to take money from special interest? Would you vote for someone who declared their Presidential run at Timothy McVeigh’s house? as Obama did from William Ayers home.

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