August 7th, 2008
08:15 PM ET
14 years ago

McCain campaign to return about $50,000 in donations

WASHINGTON (CNN) - John McCain’s campaign announced Thursday night that it’s returning about $50,000 in contributions believed to be brought in by a foreign citizen.

The actions late Thursday followed a move earlier in the day by the campaign that it would be looking at hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations brought in by Florida businessman Harry Sargeant, after reports that his business partner – Mustafa Abu Naba’a, who is not an American citizen – may have been connected with the fundraising efforts.

Federal campaign finance regulations prohibit donations from foreign nationals, but federal laws do not specify if it is illegal for them to solicit political contributions.

The McCain campaign says Abu Naba’a did not donate the money himself. But McCain spokesman Brian Rogers says, "we're taking the precautionary measure of returning any contributions solicited by Mr. Abu Naba'a. We thought it was an appropriate measure to take at this point, as we had an issue with the reports of people giving to the campaign who had no intention of supporting or voting for John McCain - that was clear from recent reports. We estimate that it totals under $50,000."

The New York Times reported on Thursday that Sargeant allowed Abu Naba’a to solicit the donations in March from a single extended family in California, the Abdullahs, along with their friends.

The McCain campaign is also sending a copy of the legal requirements for donations to all contributors whose funds were brought in through Sargeant.

Earlier this year, during the primary season, Norman Hsu, who was a top fundraiser for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, was indicted for making contributions in the names of other people.

Filed under: John McCain
soundoff (243 Responses)
  1. Joe Reg

    We have been sold down the river.

    Old man yell at cloud.

    August 7, 2008 10:40 pm at 10:40 pm |
  2. This is outrageous

    I said I wouldn't write anymore blogs because I was just appalled at all the nasty, race hate comments coming from people but I have to say this one.......

    Where are all the McCain supports now. Why isn't anyone commenting on this one.

    Hummmm......... is right. Where are the PUMAs and the repubs on this issue. I guess they aren't going to link this guy to McCain like the repubs would do if it were Obama. If it were Obama, they would say... another Muslim connection. Oh, they would be all over this one.

    August 7, 2008 10:45 pm at 10:45 pm |
  3. SWG

    McCain can not help who sends him donations. But he can do the rightful thing and return donations that he feels are inappropriate.

    Obama has decided not to accept public funding so that he can keep his contributors secret – although we know that he is gleefully accepting contributions from foreign lands, vis a vis his recent trips to China and Germany to raise dollars.

    How come the Obama fans are not requiring their candidate to do the noble thing and either accpet public financing or not accept contributions from foreigners (including Huffington, Soros and Kos).

    August 7, 2008 10:46 pm at 10:46 pm |
  4. Weepy

    Good for McCain. Now, how about the fundraiser for Obama, hosted by George Clooney in Switzerland? That smells to high heaven!

    August 7, 2008 10:46 pm at 10:46 pm |
  5. Paulina

    Well , lets follow Obama's money trail .
    No doubt one would find some , if not more , questionable donations.

    August 7, 2008 10:46 pm at 10:46 pm |
  6. Alex, USMC

    The real question for me remains whether anyone in the media will actually go in and ask the hard questions to see if this is really a case of "precautionary measures" or a question of somebody getting caught with their hand in the cookie jar.

    Sure, media outlets can let this rest and tell themselves they've done their job by reporting it...but wouldn't it be great for the American people if someone actually investigated what goes on behind the scenes?

    August 7, 2008 10:54 pm at 10:54 pm |
  7. sarah

    why haven't you reported that obama's bundled donations could have come from kenya, europe, or from hamas? heaven forbid someone dig into The One's campaign finances.

    August 7, 2008 10:59 pm at 10:59 pm |
  8. Mary In AL

    He probably needs to return more than that.

    August 7, 2008 11:00 pm at 11:00 pm |
  9. Cheryl

    This is not the first time McCain has been involved in shady fundraising schemes. If people knew his real history they'd see that straight talking all American image is just a front he concocted a long time ago to further his political career. The real McCain is an anything-to-get-what-I-want bully.

    August 7, 2008 11:02 pm at 11:02 pm |
  10. Mike, Syracuse, NY

    Hey, the campaign found and disclosed the problem themselves. Isn't that what we want them to do?

    August 7, 2008 11:03 pm at 11:03 pm |
  11. Leon

    I just want to know how this so called hero destroyed 5 U.S Navy aircrafts(1 accident caused over 100 deaths of Navy crewmen)
    and he was decorated as a war hero. With only 20 hrs of actual combat duty he is no hero.

    America,use the internet and google his record.PLEASE, you will be glad you did!

    August 7, 2008 11:05 pm at 11:05 pm |
  12. Don Colony14Author

    Both sides are guilty of accepting improper contributions from foreigners, but it appears that the Obama camp is taking in far more of them – and not returning them as McCain has done. Obama's records show an amazingly large number of contributions in strange amounts, like $72.47, which are indicative of "even" amounts that become "odd" after being converted from foreign currency. Obama has his own share of money to return, like contributions from Hamas member in the Gaza strip. Obama's web site has absolutely no controls to prevent foreign contributions, and it shows from a review of the records reviewed so far by astute reporters (i.e., reporters that don't work for CNN or the New York Times.)

    CNN posts this story about contributions to McCain from foreigners, yet nothing about Obama's similar, and larger, problem. No wonder people think CNN is in the tank for the dems.

    August 7, 2008 11:06 pm at 11:06 pm |
  13. Nissa

    I hear that the petition the Hillary supporters have been trying to get going only has a couple hundred names on it.

    Most of what is going on is getting blown out of proportion.

    Party Unity.

    Obama 08

    August 7, 2008 11:10 pm at 11:10 pm |
  14. Peter (CA)

    So, here is one less issue where the McCain crowd can pretend to be above everyone else.

    August 7, 2008 11:19 pm at 11:19 pm |
  15. Paulina

    Well , lets follow Obama's money trail .
    No doubt one would find some , if not more , questionable donations.
    It's time the 'black churches' are investigated. The rumors are rife that millions are being funnelled through these so called 'tax havens' from outside sources.
    Lets call this election for what it has become, an Abama 'cult mentality'. In other words, he has no intellectual deptth except charisma. Ladies and Gentlemen, today, charisma and nothing else will not give the confidence of security that the 'free world' expects from the United States. Obama is no more than a 'preacher'. Remember, Rev. Wright was his mentor for twenty years!
    Of course, cultists will hear nothing that challenges their believe!.

    August 7, 2008 11:22 pm at 11:22 pm |
  16. Patrick

    Wow! I consider it pretty impressive that less that less than 0.001% of McCain's campaign chest is considered tainted and should be returned. He certainly should be applauded for his obvious integrity---somehow.

    novi, mi

    August 7, 2008 11:23 pm at 11:23 pm |
  17. Reg


    speed bump!

    When will the bigots WAKE UP!!!! PITIFUL

    August 7, 2008 11:23 pm at 11:23 pm |
  18. ANGEL

    McCain about the KEATING 5 ????
    the big RANCH deal he was part of in ARIZONA... ??
    Just yet another one of his HUGE SCANDALS ....

    August 7, 2008 11:25 pm at 11:25 pm |
  19. Tenderfoot

    And so begins the countdown to the release by the McCain campaign of an ad attacking Obama for NOT returning his 'questionable donations' (and the never-ending cycle of allege/defend tactics debating just what constitutes a 'questionable donation').

    August 7, 2008 11:26 pm at 11:26 pm |
  20. Patti

    Thanks CNN for some McCain news coverage.

    I keep seeing Obama's 'Presidential Seal' overtop an Oreo cookie rather than the Eagle he now has.

    August 7, 2008 11:27 pm at 11:27 pm |
  21. Texas Trail Dog!


    August 7, 2008 11:27 pm at 11:27 pm |
  22. Banned from CNN

    Excuse me, but McCain back in March chose not to go see our wounded troops (while oversease) to go to a political fundraiser thrown by a British lord for him.

    Why would this foreign money/donations all of a sudden be returned? Because it was brought to the light and questioned, that's why.

    August 7, 2008 11:28 pm at 11:28 pm |
  23. yui

    That's what happens when Kael Rove's people take over your campaign,straight to the gutter.

    August 7, 2008 11:30 pm at 11:30 pm |
  24. Wedge

    And no comments on how much the governments of Germany and Berlin in particular donated services to Obama's campaign, hmmm. Last I checked, they were foreigners too.

    August 7, 2008 11:32 pm at 11:32 pm |
  25. TonyinKentucky

    Senator Drill Surgent McKeating 5, reporting for graft as ordered!
    Aye Aye Sir!!!!

    Nah, I'm glad McCain is doing the right thing here at least and that's all he realistically can do other than to be careful and have a proper disclaimer.
    My concern is more of the supposed bundler of blue collar workers. It's hard to buy average wage workers maxing out. That's 2,300 bucks each which is probably a lot for a mechanic or a server to pay to get screwed.

    August 7, 2008 11:33 pm at 11:33 pm |
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