Campaigns

PAC would return contribution tied to Trump impeachment probe — if it only could

Donors helped Giuliani push for Ukraine investigation into Joe Biden and his son

A PAC that supported West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey’s failed 2018 Senate bid discovered Thursday that it had received a contribution tied to two men who helped President Donald Trump's private lawyer push for an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

When a PAC that supported a failed West Virginia Senate candidate found out it may have received an illegal contribution tied to two men at the center of the Trump impeachment controversy, the first reaction was to give it back.

There’s just one problem: It’s broke.

A lawyer representing 35th Inc., a PAC that supported West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey’s failed 2018 Senate run, learned about potential problems with the contribution from CQ Roll Call.

“Your question is the first indication that 35th Inc. has received of anything untoward regarding any contribution that it received,” Sloane S. Carlough said in an email Thursday.

“Based upon the news today the PAC would like to disgorge the contribution in question, but does not have the funds available to do that,” she wrote.

Federal prosecutors alleged in an indictment Thursday that Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman made illegal campaign contributions through Global Energy Producers LLC, a company they allegedly formed to conceal the source of the funds.

 FEC records show that Global Energy Producers contributed $15,000 to 35th Inc. in May 2018. 

Morrisey campaigned as a “strong ally to President Trump” in 2018 and regularly attacked incumbent Sen. Joe Manchin, one of the most conservative Democrats in the Senate, as too liberal for West Virginia voters.

The Morrisey campaign did not return a request for comment. Morrisey’s state office declined to comment.

The indictment against Parnas and Fruman, unsealed Thursday in the Southern District of New York, appears to refer to the May 2018 contribution to 35th Inc., which it called “Committee-2.”

“LEV PARNAS and IGOR FRUMAN, the defendants, made a $325,000 contribution to an independent expenditure committee (‘Committee-1’) and a $15,000 contribution to a second independent expenditure committee (‘Committee-2’),” the indictment alleged.

Prosecutors went on to say that none of the contributions came from Global Energy Producers, which had no revenue or assets. Instead, the indictment alleged, Parnas and Fruman used the company to hide their contributions in order to deceive their creditors and the public.

Parnas and Fruman reportedly began working with Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s personal lawyer, in late 2018 to convince officials in Ukraine to launch an investigation into Democratic presidential frontrunner Joe Biden and his son Hunter. Giuliani has alleged that Biden sought to scuttle an investigation into a private Ukrainian company where Hunter was a board member.

Accusations that Trump used military aid as leverage to spur an investigation by Ukraine into the Bidens are at the center of an impeachment investigation by House Democrats.

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