Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Republicanos Who Claim To Be Democrats But Aim To Debilitate The Nueces Democratic Party. Republicanos I Tell Ya!

State Representatives, Judges Urged to Return Donations by Indicted Contributor
Fresh Ink

Published: 02-19-08

Republicans Urge Other Elected Officials to Follow Ortiz Lead

CORPUS CHRISTI – State lawmakers and judges who received hundreds of thousands of dollars from indicted Democratic contributor Mauricio Celis should follow the lead of Rep. Solomon Ortiz Jr. and return the contributions, according to Nueces County Republican Party Chair Michael Bertuzzi.

Ortiz Jr. announced today that he was returning thousands of dollars in contributions from Celis who was indicted in November on multiple felony counts including impersonating a lawyer and a peace officer, perjury and theft. Later he was linked to alleged money laundering for the Mexican drug trade in a search warrant used by the Texas Attorney General’s office to raid his office.

Ortiz is not the only Democrat who has had to return money from donors who were indicted or had questionable business activities this year. Both Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Barak Obama have returned hundreds of thousands of dollars to contributors under scrutiny over their fundraising and business deals.

Bertuzzi called on state representatives Juan Garcia and Abel Herrero to also return Celis’ money or to donate it to local charities. He also said Nueces County judges who received money from Celis should give their contributions to charity as well.

Bertuzzi said that Herrero had received about $50,000 in direct contributions from Celis and that Garcia received $17,000 in direct contributions. Bertuzzi said that Garcia should also return at least $50,000 of the more than $400,000 in contributions Garcia received from the plaintiff lawyer funded Good Government PAC. That PAC was funded with money from Corpus Christi trial lawyer Mikal Watts and his friends, including a $50,000 donation from Celis.

In April of 2006, Juan Garcia demanded that Rep. Gene Seaman return almost $50,000 he had received over a four year period from Tom Delay and PACs associated with the former Congressman.

“Garcia told Seaman he should give back almost $50,000 he received four years earlier from PACs founded by DeLay,” Bertuzzi said. “Now he needs to put his money where his mouth was. Today, we are calling on Garcia to return the $17,000 in Celis contributions as well as at least $50,000 of the more than $400,000 in contributions he received from the so-called Good Government PAC, which were directly donated to the PAC by Celis.” Celis also was a host for a Washington, D.C. fundraiser for Garcia in 2006 and the next year Garcia touted him as his largest single contributor.

“Before this case is over, it could well replace the stories of dead people voting as one of the biggest political corruption scandals in South Texas history,” Bertuzzi said. “Juan Garcia and Abel Herrero can run, but they can’t hide from the truth. They accepted thousands of dollars in tainted money from Mauricio Celis – and they need to give it back.”

Republicans have long called on the area’s three state representatives and numerous local judges to return thousands of dollars donated to their campaigns by Celis. Bertuzzi noted that Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Barak Obama had returned hundreds of thousands of dollars to indicted contributors over the past year. He said that while Ortiz’s return of the contributions was a little late, it at least showed Ortiz had been convinced to do the right thing.

Democratic Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton returned $850,000 in contributions linked to fundraising activities of Norman Hsu, who is under investigation in a financing scheme allegedly designed to stead $40 million from an investment fund.

Democratic Presidential candidate Barak Obama has given $150,00 to charity linked to Chicago businessman Tony Rezko, a Obama fundraiser and friend who helped Obama purchase his home and has now been accused of fraud.

“In October these three state representatives tried to wait out this controversy by giving part of the money to charity that Celis donated to their cause,” Bertuzzi said. “However, the small amount each legislator reportedly gave to charity was only a tiny piece of what Celis has given to their campaigns.”

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