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Businessman indicted for illegal contributions to Crist, McCain

From the New York Times: Federal prosecutors in Los Angeles on Wednesday indicted a Jordanian businessman with connections to the Florida Republican Party on charges of funneling illegal contributions to three former presidential candidates and Gov. Charlie Crist of Florida.

The indictment of the businessman, Alaa al-Ali, 37, shines a spotlight on the role of a business associate who the complaint asserts helped collect the donations. The associate, Harry Sargeant III, is a major Republican fund-raiser who owns an oil company with government contracts in Iraq and who recently resigned as finance chairman of the Florida Republican Party.

Mr. Sargeant raised more than $500,000 for the 2008 Republican presidential campaign of Senator John McCain. News organizations raised questions last summer about suspect donations to Mr. McCain from Arab-Americans that the campaign initially linked to Mr. Sargeants fund-raising before attributing them instead to another one of his Arab associates.