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Following the money

The checks usually came about a day after the fundraiser, consultant Lee A. Calhoun said in court Thursday, and they were sometimes marked “advance on bonus.” But what they really were, he admitted, were $160,000 in reimbursements from his boss, Jeffrey E. Thompson, for illegal straw donations Calhoun had made in the name of himself and family members. Calhoun’s admissions Thursday laid bare what U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr. called an “assembly line” for illicit campaign contributions at the former Thompson, Cobb, Bazilio and Associates. The system, Calhoun said, was run with the full knowledge of the firm’s controller and included — this was an accounting firm, after all — measures for dealing with the tax consequences of the reimbursements. How many more Lee Calhouns are there? One more Thompson associate, Stanley L. Straughter of Philadelphia, was charged Thursday with a similar crime and is expected to plead guilty as well. More from Loose Lips, WRC-TV, WUSA-TV, WJLA-TV, WAMU-FM, and DCist.

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