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Politics, lawsuits entangle financial firm in state January 19, 2009

Posted by trouble97018 in Corruption, Democrats, News, Politics, Repiglicans.
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Courtesy Pittsburgh Tribune-Review:

HARRISBURG — The head of a financial company the FBI raided two years ago in an ongoing investigation into “pay-to-play” practices donated more than $400,000 to state officials and political committees, and is accused in two lawsuits of colluding with bankers on municipal bond deals.

The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission paid the Investment Management Advisory Group of Pottstown, which advises local and state governments on municipal bond deals, about $3.5 million in fees over the past decade, said turnpike spokesman Bill Capone. The Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency paid the company, known as IMAGE, $142,500 in 2005 and 2006 for financial advice, an agency spokesman said.

IMAGE had contracts across Pennsylvania with school districts and authorities. The company advised the Pennsylvania Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority on three financing deals.

David Eckhart, president and managing director of IMAGE, gave $401,950 to state candidates and political committees since 1999, state records show. He donated $67,000 to federal candidates. Records show Eckhart continued to make significant campaign contributions through September 2008.

“Dave’s company has done great work,” said Gene Grabowski, a spokesman for IMAGE. “All these (campaign) contributions do is enhance your chance of being noticed.” He said Eckhart hasn’t donated to campaigns lately.

Eckhart gave $58,000 to a committee controlled by former Republican Party state chairman Bob Asher of Montgomery County; $55,500 to former Sen. Vincent Fumo, D-Philadelphia, who is on trial on corruption charges; $27,000 to Gov. Ed Rendell; $22,500 to U.S. Sen. Bob Casey while he was state treasurer and auditor general; $20,000 to a committee controlled by the late Ron White of Philadelphia, who was indicted in an influence-peddling scheme; and $10,000 to former Gov. Tom Ridge, according to Bureau of Elections documents.

-Article continued @ Sourced Site.

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