John McCain's campaign will be reviewing contributions from one of his major fundraisers, it announced today. That review comes after stories in the Washington Post and New York Times raised more than a few questions about the donations gathered by Harry Sargeant III, who's listed on McCain's Web site as having raised more than $500,000 for the campaign.
As we noted yesterday, it was unclear how some of those contributions, from Arab-Americans in California, were connected to Sargeant. The Times reported this morning that they were gathered via Sargeantâs Jordanian business partner Mustafa Abu Nabaâa. Abu Nabaâa is named as a manager of International Oil Trading Co. (IOTC) in its incorporation documents. That company, we noted yesterday, is currently the subject of a suit by the king of Jordan's brother-in-law over its almost $1 billion contract to supply fuel to the U.S. military in Iraq.
But many questions still remain. âSeveral of the donors were emphatic in interviews that they had made the contributions on their own and had not been reimbursed,â reports the Times. Such emphasis is understandable: To reimburse contributions as a way around contribution limits is a crime. But there are indications that a review would be a good idea:
Abdullah Makhlouf, the owner of a discount stereo store who is one of Mr. Abdullahâs closest friends, and his wife contributed $9,200.
âHeâs like a worse copy than Bush,â Mr. Makhlouf said of Mr. McCain.
When a reporter initially contacted Mr. Makhlouf, he denied giving to the McCain campaign.
After eventually admitting to the donation, Mr. Makhlouf added, âIâm still not going to vote for him.â