National Politics

Kevin McCarthy will donate indictment-tainted money to charity

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said Thursday he will be donating to charity the campaign contributions received from two indicted associates of Rudy Giuliani, President Donald Trump's personal lawyer.

McCarthy, along with the National Republican Congressional Committee and other groups, were the beneficiaries of campaign cash from Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, two Soviet-born businessmen who are also subjects of the House impeachment inquiry. The two have been working with Giuliani on his investigation of former Vice President Joe Biden's son Hunter, who served on the board of an energy company in Ukraine.

Federal Election Commission records show Parnas making a $2,700 contribution to McCarthy in June 2018, and giving a total of $3,800 to the NRCC in the same month. He also donated $11,000 to Protect the House, a joint fundraising committee whose beneficiaries include McCarthy and the NRCC. Fruman, under a misspelling of his last name as "Furman" – which the indictment says he did deliberately to avoid FEC scrutiny – gave $100,000 to Protect the House and $2,173.92 to Majority Committee PAC, McCarthy's leadership PAC.

"These contributions were made ahead of events sponsored by Protect the House," McCarthy spokesman Matt Sparks said in a statement. "The deception documented in today's indictment has no place in our country and as a result, McCarthy plans to donate amounts received to a local charity."

Parnas was born in Ukraine and Fruman was born in Belarus. Both are American citizens. The indictment alleges that Parnas, Fruman and other defendants "conspired to circumvent the federal laws against foreign influence by engaging in a scheme to funnel foreign money to candidates for federal and state office so that the defendants could buy potential influence with the candidates, campaigns, and the candidates' governments."

Two other Republicans, Texas Rep. Pete Sessions and South Carolina Rep. Joe Wilson, also received donations from Parnas last cycle. Sessions, who later lost his reelection bid, is the only House candidate who received donations from Fruman and Parnas in 2018 known to have met with one of the men.

Sessions met with Parnas and Fruman last year and later sent a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, urging him to remove the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine. Sessions defended himself against any accusations of wrongdoing in a statement Thursday, released hours after the indictment was revealed.

"My entire motivation for sending the letter was that I believe that political appointees should not be disparaging the president, especially while serving overseas," he said.