(PresidentialWire.com)- Republican Senator Susan Collins of Maine is the subject of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
According to Axios, the FBI is looking into what they described as a “massive scheme” to finance Collins’ 2020 re-election campaign illegally.
An application for a search warrant was unsealed recently that shows that the FBI thinks a defense contractor based in Hawaii funneled $150,000 illegally to a super PAC that supports Collins. The FBI then believes the contractor reimbursed donations that were made to the senator’s campaign.
The search warrant application doesn’t make any mention of whether the FBI believes Collins herself or any members of her team were aware of what was going on with the super PAC.
The contractor in this case used to be called Navatek but has been renamed the Martin Defense Group. Collins reportedly helped the contract secure a contract with the U.S. Navy for $8 million before many of those donations actually took place.
Last year, Martin Kao, Navatek’s CEO, was indicted for bilking the U.S. government of coronavirus relief money that totaled into the millions.
The FBI says that the CEO set up a shell company to funnel approximately $150,000 in funds from Navatek to the super PAC, which goes by 1820 PAC. The FBI says the fake LLC that was set up by Kao and his wife is called the Society for Young Women Scientists and Engineers.
The LLC was written a $150,000 check from Navatek, and then the LLC passed that money onto the super PAC to try to hide its origins. The reason why he wanted to hide the funds is because any company that contracts with the government is prohibited by law from donating to any federal political committee.
In addition, Kao engaged in what’s known as “straw” donations, which are also prohibited. This involved Kao reimbursing colleagues and family members who made donations to the Collins re-election campaign.
The problem here is that fundraising solicitations to the Collins campaign require all donors to certify the funds they are donating are theirs, and not someone else’s.
In 2019, from June through September, these alleged donations that were reimbursed by Kao came in specific clusters. Records of federal contributions, which are public, showed that the total of these reimbursements amounted to only roughly 0.2% of the total donations the Collins campaign received.
For their part, Collins denied any knowledge or involvement of the scheme. Annie Clark, a spokesperson for Collins, emailed a statement to Axios that read:
“The Collins for Senator Campaign had absolutely no knowledge of anything alleged in the warrant.”
In the application for the warrant, the FBI lists an email exchange between the Maine finance director of Collins’ campaign and Kao. Kao just maxed out his donations to Collins’ campaign. The staffer for Collins then allegedly wrote:
“If you have friends or family members that would be willing to donate please don’t hesitate to send them my way.”
Collins could find herself in a lot of hot water if it is revealed that she had any knowledge, or direct involvement, of the scheme.