PEORIA, Ill. (AP) – Former Illinois Congressman and U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood was fined $ 40,000 in 2019 for allegedly making misleading statements to federal agents about a loan and not disclose them on ethics forms, according to the US Department of Justice.
Federal prosecutors disclosed the fine on Wednesday night as they discussed a California case unrelated to LaHood that involved illegal political contributions. This case concerned Lebanese-Nigerian businessman Gilbert Chagoury, who is prohibited from making political contributions because he is not a US citizen.
LaHood, 75, denied to FBI agents that he received a $ 50,000 loan from Chagoury through an intermediary until he was shown a copy of the check. He also did not tell agents that he knew Chagoury was the ultimate source of the loan. Authorities say LaHood, who was transportation secretary during President Barack Obama’s administration from 2009 to 2013, was in financial difficulty at the time.
In a deal with federal prosecutors, LaHood agreed to reimburse Chagoury and pay the fine.
Prosecutors said they had agreed not to prosecute LaHood because of his “willingness to recognize and accept responsibility” for his actions, his cooperation with the government, the nature of the offense and ” LaHood’s substantial mitigating factors ”.
LaHood declined to comment on the case against him.
Chagoury, who lives in Paris, agreed to pay the US government $ 1.8 million for allegedly paying $ 180,000 to four political candidates by proxy.
Before Republican LaHood joined the Obama administration, he represented the 18th district of Congress from 1995 to 2009. He was replaced in Congress by his son, Republican Darin LaHood of Peoria.
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