Gee, it’s almost like they’ve got something to hide.
The finance VIPs living in foreign countries include Glen Fukushima, chairman of the Japanese division of European aircraft manufacturer Airbus, which has had testy relationships with major defense contractors and political players in the U.S. such as Boeing, and Robert “Skipp” Orr, a former president of Boeing Japan and 2008 bundler who Mr. Obama nominated as ambassador to the Asian Development Bank in 2010.
Also among them are Daniel Crosby, an international trade lawyer in Geneva, and Robert Keane, head of Paris-based Vistaprint, and his wife. Mr. Keane was a member of a committee that hosted a fundraiser in Paris featuring Jim Messina, Mr. Obama’s campaign manager.
Bundlers with controversial ties can be liabilities to a candidate, and Mr. Obama has in some cases stripped names from his list after controversies. Abake Assongba, who runs a nonprofit that ostensibly raises money for Africa, was listed as raising at least $50,000, but disappeared from the roster after she was accused of wire fraud and of using an email scam to steal money that was allegedly used to buy a luxury home.
The campaign also struck the name of Rojas Cardona, a Mexican businessman with Chicago ties, and returned contributions associated with him after it emerged that he was a fugitive and alleged attempted assassin.
In one Florida case, which is still ongoing, Swiss businessman Klaus-Werner Pusch accused Assongba in 2009 of engaging him in an email scam — then using the money to buy a multimillion-dollar home, the Post reported. The suit alleges Assongba impersonated a bank official to do it. Pusch referred the AP’s questions to his attorney, who did not immediately return requests seeking comment Sunday.
Meanwhile, Assongba has left a trail of debts, with a former landlord demanding in court more than $10,000 in back rent and damages for a previous apartment. She was also evicted in 2004 after owing $5,000 in rent, records show.
When The New York Times asked the Obama campaign early Monday about the Cardonas, officials said they were unaware of the brother in Mexico. Later in the day, the campaign said it was refunding the money raised by the family, which totaled more than $200,000.
As recently as January of last year, one of Mr. Cardona’s brothers in Chicago, Carlos Rojas Cardona, arranged for the former chairman of the Iowa Democratic Party to seek a pardon from the governor for Pepe Cardona, according to prosecutors in that state. None was forthcoming.
Last fall, Carlos Cardona and another brother in Chicago, Alberto Rojas Cardona, began raising money for the Obama campaign and the Democratic National Committee. The Cardona brothers, who have no prior history of political giving, appeared seemingly out of nowhere in the world of Democratic fund-raising, Democratic activists said.
The money Alberto Cardona raised put him in the upper tiers of fund-raisers known as bundlers, according to a list released last month by the campaign. He and Carlos Cardona each gave the maximum $30,800 to the Democratic National Committee, and a lesser amount to a state victory fund. A sister, Leticia Rojas Cardona of Tennessee, donated $13,000 to the national committee, and another relative in Illinois gave $12,600, records show. There is no record of Pepe Cardona making a donation.