Businessman indicted on campaign law violations

LOS ANGELES (AP) - A Jordanian businessman was indicted by a federal grand jury for allegedly making illegal campaign contributions to three presidential candidates.

The six-count indictment issued Wednesday said Ala'a al-Ali arranged for $60,000 in illegal donations to be funneled into the unsuccessful campaigns of Republicans John McCain and Rudolph Giuliani and Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton.

He also is accused of getting $5,000 to the successful campaign of Republican Gov. Charlie Crist of Florida.

The indictment did not indicate what the alleged motive for the contributions was. Ali, 37, lives in the Dominican Republic and also goes by the name Ala'a Mohy Eddin Elali.

Ali could face up to 26 years in prison if convicted. It was unclear if he had a lawyer.

The indictment alleged he conspired with others to recruit Southern California residents to contribute to the campaigns with promises they would be reimbursed. Ali was accused of reimbursing them with cash or checks.

The actions also allegedly violated laws barring foreign nationals from making any contributions to a federal, state or local campaign, as well as laws barring an individual from making more than $2,300 in federal campaign contributions.

"Fair elections require transparency," U.S. Attorney Thomas P. O'Brien said in a statement, adding that concealing contributors "raises the specter of elected officials being unduly influenced by unknown forces."

Ali and others committed and caused 48 overt acts in Los Angeles, Orange, San Bernardino and Riverside counties, according to the indictment.

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