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Sunday, February 28, 2010

Lawyer sues to recover Allen Stanford's donations to congressional fundraisers

Dallas attorney Ralph Janvey, who is in charge of recovering assets from the empire of alleged Ponzi schemer Allen Stanford, sued the congressional fundraising committees on Friday to recover money that could be returned to investors.

Janvey first requested in Feb. 2009 that more than $1.8 million in campaign donations be returned to the estate. The largest beneficiaries of Stanford's largess were the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee ($950,500); the National Republican Congressional Committee ($238,500); the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee ($200,000); the Republican National Committee ($128,500); and the National Republican Senatorial Committee ($83,345). According to Janvey, who is represented in the matter by Kevin M. Sadler and Timothy S. Durst of Baker Botts, the committees have "ignored" his requests to return the funds.

Two of the Republican committees are led by Texans: the NRCC, by Rep. Pete Sessions of Dallas, and the NRSC, by Sen. John Cornyn. An NRCC official previously told The Dallas Morning News that the group has no plans to return the money. Sessions' NRCC struggled to raise money in 2009, although it reported raising $4.5 million in January. Even with improved fundraising prospects in 2010, it's hard to imagine the NRCC unilaterally disgorging the Stanford donations since its rival, the DCCC, hasn't agreed to give back the money, either.

There have been a lot of questions about what kind of favors Stanford sought in return for his generous donations. Interestingly, the attorneys argue the answer is nothing: "The Committee defendants did not furnish any consideration whatsoever for the funds they received from Stanford, Davis and the Stanford Financial Group," the complaint states. "Consequently, they have no legitimate right to retain the funds, and the Receiver is entitled to the return of all such funds."

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