A federal appeals court has upheld the criminal conviction for excessive campaign contributions by a wealthy Nevada lawyer and lobbyist for U.S. Senator Harry Reid.
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Monday let stand the conviction of F. Harvey Whittemore, who used straw contributors to funnel more than $130,000 in illegal campaign contributions to Reid’s 2010 re-election campaign.
Whittemore, 62, had agreed to raise $150,000 for Reid’s reelection. He then distributed $145,000 in increments of $5,000 per person to some of his relatives and employees of a company where he served as chairman. He asked recipients to make contributions to Reid’s campaign of $4,600 each, the maximum allowed under federal law.
A federal jury convicted him of making excessive campaign contributions and contributing in the name of another person.
In 2007, Whittemore served as chairman of Wingfield Nevada Group, a holding company with interests in golf courses, land development, oil and gas and dairy operations.
Whittemore appealed the conviction arguing that the federal election laws limiting individual contributions violate the First Amendment, that jurors were improperly instructed and that there was insufficient evidence to uphold his conviction.
The 9th Circuit panel rejected all his claims.
The opinion was written by Judge William Fletcher and joined by Judges Kim Wardlaw and Paul Watford, all Democratic appointees to the court.
Case: U.S. v. Whittemore, No. 13-10515
Photo: Review Journal