Bloomberg News

National Political Committees Must Return Stanford Donations

June 23, 2011

(Updates with spokeswoman’s comment in eighth paragraph.)

June 22 (Bloomberg) -- Five Democratic and Republican national political committees must return more than $1.7 million in contributions received from indicted financier R. Allen Stanford to his court-appointed receiver, a federal judge ruled.

U.S. District Judge David Godbey in Dallas today awarded final judgment in favor of receiver Ralph Janvey, who is marshalling assets to repay investors allegedly swindled of more than $7 billion through what the government claims was a Stanford-directed Ponzi scheme.

“Courts adhere to the principle that equality is equity in dealing with the aftermath of an imploded Ponzi scheme,” Godbey wrote in a 61-page ruling. “In disgorging the Stanford defendants’ contributions, the political committees will endure no greater hardship than that suffered by other innocent victims of the Stanford defendants’ Ponzi scheme who must do the same.”

Godbey ordered the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Inc. to return $1,037,347; the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Inc., $218,273; the National Republican Congressional Committee, $260,291; the National Republican Senatorial Committee, $90,960; and the Republican National Committee, $140,241. The sums represent the donations the groups got from Stanford plus prejudgment interest, according to Godbey’s order.

Stanford, 61, denies all wrongdoing in connection with civil and criminal allegations that that he defrauded investors through the sale of bogus certificates of deposit sold by his Antigua-based Stanford International Bank Ltd.

‘Important Victory’

“This ruling represents an important victory for the Stanford receivership and the thousands of victims of the Stanford Ponzi scheme,” Kevin Sadler, lead attorney for Janvey, said in an e-mail today. “Unfortunately, the political committees waged a costly campaign to thwart the receiver’s efforts to recover the monies they received from the Stanford Ponzi scheme. The receiver will be filing appropriate papers with the court to recover the hundreds of thousands of dollars in attorneys fees and expenses he was forced to incur in this case.”

Mark Shank, a lawyer for the Republican committees, didn’t immediately return voice or e-mail messages seeking comment on today’s ruling.

“We disagree with the court’s ruling and are weighing our options,’’ Jennifer Crider, a spokeswoman for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, said in an e-mail.

The criminal case is U.S. v. Stanford, 09cr342, U.S. District Court, Southern District of Texas (Houston). The SEC case is Securities and Exchange Commission v. Stanford International Bank, 09cv298, U.S. District Court, Northern District of Texas (Dallas).

--Editors: Peter Blumberg, Charles Carter

To contact the reporters on this story: Laurel Brubaker Calkins in Houston at laurel@calkins.us.com; Andrew M. Harris in Chicago at aharris16@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha in San Francisco at mhytha@bloomberg.net.


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