An East Bay real estate developer was convicted Tuesday of funneling illegal contributions through straw donors to the congressional campaigns of Rep. Eric Swalwell, as reported by San Francisco Chronicle.
A jury in an Oakland federal court, that lasted 10 days, found James Tong guilty of two counts of illegally arranging the contributions to Swalwell’s election campaign in 2012 and his 2014 re-election.
The funds totaled $38,000. Prosecutors said Tong, 74, of Fremont, pressured dozens of people to make individual contributions to Swalwell and used go-betweens to reimburse the money, exceeding the limits set by federal law of $2,500 for individual contributions to a congressional candidate in 2012 and $2,600 in 2014.
Swalwell, D-Dublin, said he first learned of the illicit contributions in 2017 when the FBI contacted him. He said his campaign was donating the sums to a local charity.
Tong, a prominent local developer, pleaded no contest in 2016 to violating environmental laws. He admitted that he and his company, Wildlife Management, had polluted a pond that provided habitat to the threatened California salamander and forged a document to hide the actions. He was ordered to pay $1 million to conservation funds and set aside 107 acres of land to protect endangered species.
“Justice was served today for a campaign supporter of mine who violated the law,” Swalwell said Tuesday. “From the moment I was notified that my campaign was a victim of fraud, I assisted the FBI to obtain the records they needed to conduct their investigation. All the donations to my campaign in this case were subsequently donated to local charities.”
Former Deputy Assistant to President Trump, Dr. Sebastian Gorka, took to Twitter on Wednesday after seeing the report about James Tong funneling illegal contributions to Rep. Swalwell and posted the article from San Francisco Chronicle.
Gorka asked Swalwell, “What no comment President @RepSwalwell?” He seemingly was referring to when former Trump campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, called Swalwell “president” as he testified before the House Judiciary Committee last month, regarding Chairman Jerry Nadler’s “impeachment effort” against President Donald Trump. (Continued Below)
Three months after his presidential announcement, Swalwell dropped out of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary in July.
Swalwell led the charge of collusion conspiracy alongside Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), who both claimed to have evidence that President Trump colluded, along with calling Trump an agent of Russia and demanding his impeachment.
What no comment President @RepSwalwell? https://t.co/gYbs33CSbS
— Sebastian Gorka DrG (@SebGorka) October 9, 2019
(Related: Watch: While Being Grilled, Acting DNI Maguire Calls Rep Swalwell ‘Congresswoman’)