Two Soviet-born donors to pro-Trump fundraising committees were arrested late Wednesday on criminal charges of violating campaign finance rules. The donors, who reportedly helped Rudy Giuliana’s efforts to investigate Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden in Ukraine, are expected to appear in court on Thursday.
Florida businessmen Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman — both born in former Soviet republics — donated to Republican campaigns. According to Federal Election Commission records, they gave $325,000 to the primary pro-Trump super PAC America First Action in May 2018, using an LLC called Global Energy Producers. They also made more than $500,000 in other political contributions, including to Florida Sen. Rick Scott and the National Republican Congressional Committee and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy.
Parnas and Fruman were indicted on charges of conspiracy, making false statements to the Federal Election Commission, and falsification of records
A transparency advocacy group called the Campaign Legal Center filed a complaint with the FEC in July 2018 asking the commission to investigate whether the two men broke campaign finance laws by donating through the LLC.
The super PAC placed the contribution in a segregated account following the complaint. A spokeswoman said that America First Action would not use the funds until the matter was resolved.
Giuliani, President Donald Trump’s private lawyer, said in May the two men were his clients. Fruman and Parnas introduced the lawyer to several current and former Ukrainian officials to discuss the Biden case since late 2018.
John Dowd, who formerly led Trump’s legal team, is currently representing the two men.