-By Josh Gerstein
January 23, 2013- A Florida developer, Jay Odom, has been indicted on federal charges that he used straw donors to donate at least $23,000 to former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee's unsuccessful 2008 campaign for the Republican presidential nomination.
Odom faces two felony counts: one of making contributions through others in excess of $10,000 to Huckabee's campaign and another of causing false reports to be filed with the Federal Election Commission. At the time, the maximum legally allowed donation for an individual to a federal primary campaign was $2,300.
The indictment released Tuesday by the Justice Department (posted here) lists ten $2,300 donations made to the Huckabee campaign in December 2007 by ten different individuals identified only by their initials. Huckabee's campaign is not identified by name, but FEC records make clear that campaign received the suspect donations.
"Defendant Odom, aware of the strict limits on individual contributions, knowingly devised a scheme whereby he employees of his business entities and their family members, along with associates, among others, as conduits through which to firnnel his own money to the authorized campaip committee of Federal Candidate A under the guise of lawful campaign contributions," the current indictment says. "Defendant Odom's funding of the contributions took several including paying cash and issuing personal checks. Defendant Odom also caused individuals to soticit and reimburse contributions from third parties, and defendant then orchestrated the reimbursement of those individuals."
Odom was first indicted in November on single felony count of making straw donations of over $10,000, court records show. The initial indictment was put under seal after prosecutors said the grand jury was continuing to investigate the case. The move may have been necessary because the five-year statute of limitations for federal campaign finance charges was about to expire. A superseding indictment was returned last week.
Odom, a Destin, Fla., resident appeared Tuesday before a federal magistrate in Pensacola, Fla. and, after entering not guilty pleas to both counts, was released pending trial, court records indicate.
"Jay's disappointed that he got indicted. We're going to have to face this challenge in court," Odom's attorney Jay Judkins told POLITICO Wednesday.