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sabra Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 10:04 AM
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Big GOP Donor Faced Trouble Back Home
Source: WP

On the day Republican Sen. John McCain surged to victory in Florida's presidential primary, a group of supporters gathered at the elegant Tampa Club for a luncheon held by Gov. Charlie Crist and Sen. Mel Martinez.

Mingling with some of the state's business and political elite that January day was a Florida newcomer, an Oregon venture capitalist named Craig Berkman. Unbeknown to the guests, Berkman's life was crashing around him.


Berkman continued to raise money for McCain. He and his wife have donated $50,000 to Republican candidates and party committees this election cycle, including a $28,500 check to the Republican National Committee's Victory Fund on May 29 to support McCain's bid. Berkman's political generosity has angered his former investors, who prevailed in court but have not seen a penny of the $28 million in civil damages that a jury awarded them.


This week, the McCain campaign said that it has given Berkman's donations to charity and that it will ask the Republican National Committee to do the same.

The failure to earlier identify Berkman as a risk reveals a recurring blind spot for presidential campaigns, which in their zeal to raise cash sometimes overlook evidence about potentially embarrassing donors. McCain spokesman Brian Rogers said that Berkman's problems were overlooked by a "skeleton staff" that "was obviously focused on winning primaries."

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