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Sugar group says Lugar backer illegally paid for campaign ad

Published Feb. 6, 1996|Updated Sep. 15, 2005

Republican presidential candidate Richard Lugar benefited from advertising that was illegally paid for by a wealthy commodity broker during a straw poll in Florida, a major sugar group alleged Monday.

U.S. Sugar Corp. said in a complaint with the Federal Election Commission that Paul Tudor Jones channeled almost $1-million of his own money to fund advertising supporting the Indiana senator in the Republican straw poll in Orlando in November.

There is a limit of $1,000 on individual campaign contributions.

A spokesman for Lugar said Jones had a constitutional right to air support for any candidate he chose.

Spokesman Andy Fisher added that Lugar was accused of no wrongdoing by U.S. Sugar.

U.S. Sugar also said Jones failed to register the Coalition for Good Government, the vehicle through which he allegedly funneled the money.

"Jones' expenditures on behalf of Sen. Lugar in Florida demonstrate his complete disregard for federal law in the pursuit of personal political goals," U.S. Sugar senior vice president Robert Buker said in a statement.

Andrew Paul, a spokesman for the Tudor Investment Co. in New York, said Jones denied the allegations.

U.S. Sugar said in its filing that after meeting with Jones and his allies, Lugar introduced legislation to establish an environmental tax on Florida sugar growers.

Lugar's spokesman denied any link between the advertisements and the legislation, saying the senator had been an opponent of federal support for sugar producers for 20 years.

In its statement, U.S. Sugar said its 2,400 employee-owners would be among the principal targets of Lugar's 2-cents-a-pound tax. Money from the tax would go toward paying for environmental cleanup of the Everglades.

The organization accused Jones of being the chief figure behind a campaign to drive sugar growers out of Florida.

Two years ago, the statement said, Jones spent $1.2-million on a petition for a constitutional amendment to impose another punitive tax on sugar.

That tax was ruled unconstitutional by the Florida Supreme Court, the statement said.

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