Obama Campaign Returning Funds Linked to Mexican Fugitive

Posted February 7th, 2012 at 11:25 am (UTC-5)
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U.S. President Barack Obama's re-election campaign says it is returning some $200,000 in donations made by the family of a Mexican casino owner who fled drug and fraud charges in the U.S.

The campaign announced Tuesday that it was refunding all contributions linked to Chicago brothers Carlos and Alberto Rojas Cardona after The New York Times raised questions about them.

The newspaper reported Monday that the two Cardonas are the brothers of casino owner Juan Jose Rojas Cardona, known as Pepe, who disappeared after jumping bail in Iowa in 1994 and has since been linked to violence and corruption in Mexico.

The Cardona brothers began raising money for the Obama campaign and the Democratic National Committee last year. Obama campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt said the campaign will return the contributions from the Cardonas and any other donors they brought to the campaign. LaBolt said more than 1.3 million Americans have made donations, which he said are constantly reviewed for any issues.

The New York Times cites prosecutors in the state of Iowa as saying Carlos arranged last year for the former chairman of the Iowa Democratic Party to seek a pardon for his brother Pepe from the governor. The report said no pardon was granted.