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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Tampa 'Navy' group used phony names to spread campaign cash

9

November

Was the U.S. Navy Veterans Association, which operated as a tax-exempt charity from a Tampa duplex, really a front that siphoned cash donated by the public and pumped it into the campaigns of politicians?

The evidence compiled by investigators fanning out across the country in search of the Navy Vets' fugitive founder, "Commander Bobby Thompson,'' suggests the answer is yes.

In Ohio, the Attorney General's Office has uncovered a series of money orders sent to political campaigns from individuals who don't exist. The contributions, to the campaigns of presidential hopeful Rudy Giuliani and Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum, list phony donors with addresses that turned out to be mailboxes rented by the Navy Veterans group.

In St. Petersburg, political blogger Peter Schorsch says he witnessed Thompson stuff $2,000 to $3,000 in cash into an envelope to be delivered to a Tampa Bay area politician. Schorsch says he told his story to agents from the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation last month. He said he doesn't know which politician was to get the illegal cash. (story here)

[Last modified: Tuesday, November 9, 2010 10:36am]

    

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