Former Erie County Democratic Party Chair Charged With Soliciting Illegal Campaign Contribution
CONTACT: Barbara Burns
PHONE: (716) 843-5817
FAX: (716) 551-3051
BUFFALO, N.Y. - Acting U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr. announced today that G. Steven Pigeon, 56, of Buffalo, NY, was charged by complaint with unlawfully soliciting a campaign contribution from a foreign national and conspiracy to commit such an offense. The charges carry a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul E. Bonanno, who is working on the case, together with attorneys from the United States Department of Justice’s Public Integrity Section, stated that between 2010 and 2015, Pigeon was working, among other things, as a political consultant and lobbyist and ran various companies that were engaged in such consulting and lobbying activities. One of Pigeon’s clients was an online gaming company based in Montreal, Canada that was founded and operated by a Canadian national. Between 2010 and 2015, that Canadian company paid approximately $388,000 to Pigeon and his companies, for among other things, lobbying efforts aimed at the legalization of internet gambling.
According to the complaint, between January 31, 2014, and February 25, 2014, the defendant orchestrated a $25,000 donation from the founder and CEO of the Canadian online gambling company to the reelection campaign of a public official. After the donation was twice rejected, the campaign contribution was ultimately funneled through an individual from Florida.
The defendant made an initial appearance this morning before U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael J. Roemer and was released on bond.
The complaint is the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge Adam S. Cohen, and the New York State Attorney General’s office, under the direction of Eric T. Schneiderman.
The fact that a defendant has been charged with a crime is merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.