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He 'Bundled' for Obama, Hillary. Then He Gave $900K to Trump

Prolific political fundraiser Imaad Zuberi to plead guilty to tax evasion, hiding work as foreign agent
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Oct 23, 2019 7:07 AM CDT
The US Department of Justice logo is seen on a podium following a news conference in Baltimore on March 1, 2017.   (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

(Newser) – A prolific political fundraiser who raised millions of dollars for Democrats before donating large sums to President Trump's inaugural committee has agreed to plead guilty to multiple federal charges, including tax evasion and concealing his work as a foreign agent as he lobbied high-level US government officials, the Justice Department said Tuesday. The allegations against Imaad Zuberi don't involve his Trump ties but are centered instead on contributions he made during the Obama administration, when officials say he used his donations to obtain access to government officials and persuade them to change American policy in ways favorable to his clients, per the AP. Federal prosecutors in Los Angeles say Zuberi, 49, has agreed to plead guilty to three counts, with a maximum 15-year prison sentence. He's due in court on Oct. 30.

Per court records, Zuberi solicited donations from foreign nationals and companies, then used straw donors to make donations to US political campaigns. A venture capitalist with extensive ties to foreign officials, Zuberi served as a bundler for Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, including stints on both of their campaign finance committees, but shifted his allegiance to Trump within hours of his 2016 election, eventually donating $900,000 to the president's inaugural. Under federal law, foreign companies and individuals can't make contributions to US political campaigns. Though his efforts "generated marginal results," per the DOJ, some government officials were willing to adopt the positions for which he advocated. "Mr. Zuberi circumvented laws designed to insulate US policy and our election process from foreign intervention," US Attorney Nick Hanna said in a statement.

(Read more political fundraising stories.)

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