Thursday, September 06, 2007

Troha associate Erickson charged with illegal contributions

John Erickson conspired with others, including Dennis Troha, to identify politicians who supported American Indian gaming and/or relaxing interstate trucking regulations and then gave money to family members and others to make illegal campaign contributions to the candidates, according to federal charges released Tuesday.

The U.S. attorney's office in Milwaukee said Erickson and his conspirators used a slush fund, financed in part by corporate funds, to reimburse themselves and others for campaign contributions to more than 20 state and federal candidates.

The indictment lists $18,000 in contributions to the "President of the United States," more than $100,000 to the "Wisconsin governor" and more than $100,000 to "U.S. Representative (multiple candidates)." Prosecutors say the conspirators also made "similar illegal contributions" to Dem and GOP PACs.

Prosecutors say none of the candidates have been charged with wrongdoing.

Prosecutors say Erickson deposited $1,000 to his personal account in 2002 and then wrote a $1,000 check to a third party to cover a donation made to U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Janesville. They also alleged Erickson and others made illegal contributions to Ryan in 2003 knowing the money would be reimbursed with corporate funds.

Erickson worked for JHT Holdings Inc. and ATC Leasing during the time of the alleged illegal activity. Both companies were owned by Troha, who was charged earlier this year with funneling money to family members to make illegal campaign contributions in a similar scheme to what prosecutors allege against Erickson.

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