A New Jersey limo driver pleaded guilty Wednesday to helping funnel $80,000 in foreign contributions to President Obama’s 2012 fundraising committee -- part of a scheme that allegedly helped a top Albanian socialist politician meet the president.
Reuters reported that Bilal Shehu admitted he knowingly and willfully made foreign donations in violation of the law. While prosecutors did not identify the source of the donations, a Republican congressman called in 2013 for investigations into the purchase of two $40,000 tickets for a fundraiser in San Francisco by Shehu’s family.
One of those tickets was used by Edi Rama – then the Albanian Socialist Party leader and now the prime minister of the country.
At the 2012 event in San Francisco, Rama was photographed with Obama. The congressman who called for the probe, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., said the image was used by Rama to imply he had a good relationship with Obama, helping Rama win the election and become prime minister.
Shehu, a U.S. citizen, admitted he received an $80,000 wire transfer from a foreign source, knowing he was going to give it to the Obama committee. Reuters reported the foreign national was denied entry into the event but was allowed to be photographed with the president.
Shehu could face up to five years in prison and up to $250,000 in fines. Prosecutors say no one on the committee has been accused of wrongdoing.