President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign said it will return donations from the American family of fugitive Juan Jose Rojas Cardona, a casino owner in Mexico who the New York Times said skipped bail in the U.S. in 1994 and is suspected by the State Department of arranging an assassination in Mexico.
“More than 1.3 million Americans have donated to the campaign and we constantly review those contributions for any issues,” Ben LaBolt, press secretary for Obama for America, said today in a statement. “On the basis of the questions that have been raised, we will return the contributions from these individuals and from any other donors they brought to the campaign.”
Juan Rojas Cardona’s brothers, Carlos Rojas Cardona and Alberto Rojas Cardona, each gave $30,800 to the Democratic National Committee, the maximum allowed under federal law, according to campaign filings. In total, they bundled donations of about $200,000 for Obama’s re-election effort, mostly from other family members.
The New York Times, which first reported the returned contributions, said Juan Rojas Cardona, also known as Pepe, had been charged with fraud in Iowa and drug-smuggling in New Mexico. He disappeared while on bail in 1994 and later surfaced in Mexico, the newspaper said. A State Department cable in 2009 said he was suspected of orchestrating a business rival’s killing, the Times said.
To contact the reporter on this story: Hans Nichols in Washington at email@example.com