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    United States Attorney's Office
    Central District of California

    Thom Mrozek
    Public Affairs Officer

    (213) 894-6947
    thom.mrozek@usdoj.gov



    Return to the 2008 Press Release Index
    Release No. 08-103

    July 24, 2008

    PROMINENT LOS ANGELES ATTORNEY INDICTED FOR MAKING 'CONDUIT CONTRIBUTIONS' TO A FEDERAL ELECTION CAMPAIGN

    Los Angeles litigator Pierce O'Donnell was indicted today by a federal grand jury on charges of making $26,000 in "conduit" campaign contributions through employees of his law firm and others to a political committee supporting the election of a candidate for president of the United States.

    O'Donnell, 61, was named in a three-count indictment returned late this afternoon by a federal grand jury in Los Angeles.

    The indictment alleges that O’Donnell conspired to solicit employees of his law firm and other individuals to make contributions to the campaign that he would reimburse, thus concealing the true nature of the contributions. The illegal contributions are called conduit contributions because the person who makes the “contribution” is reimbursed, thus serving as a conduit for the real contributor.

    The indictment also alleges that O’Donnell caused 13 illegal campaign contributions to be made when 13 people made “donations” to the campaign in 2003 that O’Donnell reimbursed. The third count in the indictment accuses O’Donnell of causing the campaign to make false statements to the Federal Elections Commission by concealing the true nature of the contributions that he reimbursed.

    An indictment contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

    The campaign that received the alleged conduit contributions, which is not named in the indictment, is not suspected of having any knowledge of the illegal contributions.

    If he is convicted of the three counts in the indictment, O’Donnell faces a statutory maximum sentence of 12 years in federal prison.

    O’Donnell will be summoned to appear for an arraignment in United States District Court in Los Angeles in August.

    This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

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    Release No. 08-103
    Return to the 2008 Press Release Index