An associate of President Donald Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani who was arrested Wednesday, Oct. 9, on campaign finance violation charges has a history of donating to the state Republican parties of North Dakota and Minnesota.
Soviet-born U.S. citizen Lev Parnas donated about $660 to each of the state parties in October 2016, according to the Federal Election Commission website.
Federal authorities allege that Parnas and another associate, Igor Fruman, funneled foreign money to U.S. politicians and political organizations in an effort to influence U.S.-Ukraine relations, according to the federal indictment.
Global Energy Producers, a company created by Parnas and Fruman in 2018, also contributed $325,000 to pro-Trump super political action committee America First Action, according to the Washington Post. The PAC spent more than $565,000 on digital and print advertisements against 2018 North Dakota Senate candidate Heidi Heitkamp, a Democrat, according to the FEC website. Heitkamp, the incumbent, was defeated by now-Sen. Kevin Cramer.
Cramer said a complaint alleging foreign contributions originating with Parnas, passed through a corporate contribution, was filed last year and, according to press reports, the contributions were set aside and therefore were not part of sums spent opposing Heitkamp and other candidates.
"This one, it seems they caught it before any money was spent," he said. "More importantly, they arrested these guys. That's all good. I'm grateful they caught them and prevented them from leaving the country."
North Dakota Republican Party Chairman Rick Berg said the party would look into Parnas’ contribution and refund or donate the money received to charity if it finds Parnas has committed a campaign finance violation. Berg said it is unknown how Parnas’ contribution was used but that the party would “track it down.”
Minnesota GOP Chairwoman Jennifer Carnahan, hosting Trump on Thursday in Minneapolis, was not available for comment.
Parnas and Fruman, both based in south Florida, were arrested and were expected to appear in court in northern Virginia on Thursday, according to a spokesman in the U.S. attorney’s office in Manhattan, the New York Times reported.
Pat Springer contributed to this article.