Politics

Bera’s Father Released From Prison

California congressman’s dad caught illegally funneling $270,000 to his son’s campaign

Rep. Ami Bera, D-Calif., has maintained he didn’t know about his father’s illegal campaign funding scheme.. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Ami Bera’s father has been released from federal prison seven weeks before the end of his full sentence of a year and a day.

Babulal Bera was given credit for good behavior, a spokeswoman for the federal Bureau of Prisons told The Associated Press, but will still check in with a probation officer for three years.

The elder Bera took helicopter parenting to a whole new level in 2010 and 2012 when he illegally laundered upwards of $225,000 to his son’s losing campaign in 2010 and at least $43,000 to his successful run in 2012.

Ami Bera was not charged, claiming he did not know of his father’s illegal activities when they were brought to light.

“It’s been a very tough year for me and my entire family and we are happy to have him home,” Bera said of his father’s release in a statement.

Babulal Bera, a retired chemical engineer and Indian immigrant, admitted to authorities in 2016 that he had urged friends and relatives to donate more than $270,000 to his son’s campaigns in 2010 and 2012. He later reimbursed these donors, which is illegal.

Investigators found more than 130 cases of illegal campaign contributions made in this scheme, from around 90 different donors, per a plea agreement from the case.

California’s 7th District, comprising parts of the Sacramento suburbs, is a a biannual battleground between Republicans and Democrats.

Bera won the 2016 general election there by just over 2 points and edged Republican Doug Ose in 2014 by less than 1,500 votes.

At least one Democrat, 30-year-old attorney Brad Westmoreland, has entered the primary free-for-all, and at least three Republicans have declared.

Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rates the 2018 race Likely Democratic.

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