A former executive of Newport Beach, Calif.-based US Dry Cleaning Corp. told the New Orleans Times-Picayune late last week that the company reimbursed him for a $4,800 contribution to the campaign of U.S. Senator David Vitter (R-La.).
The alleged reimbursement would represent a violation of federal campaign finance law, and may represent an attempt to skirt campaign-finance limits by "bundling" individual contributions on behalf of a larger concern.
Former USDC finance director Jamal Ogbe made the claim. He says he was one of several company officials and spouses who donated almost $35,000 to Vitter in hopes of winning federal stimulus funds or assistance from the Small Business Administration (SBA) for the embattled industry consolidator. USDC filed for federal bankruptcy protection last month.
Although Vitter serves on the Senate's Small Business & Entrepreneurship Committee, multiple contributions from an out-of-state company are unusual. Vitter also voted against President Barack Obama's $787 billion stimulus package last year.
"Neither Sen. Vitter nor his office ever made a request on behalf of this company, but he believes that if the company violated campaign-finance laws they should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law," a campaign spokesman told the paper.