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On December 17, 2010, the Commission filed suit in District Court for the Middle District of Florida against Sam Kazran and 11-2001 LLC d/b/a Hyundai of North Jacksonville (“HNJ”). The Commission’s complaint alleges that Kazran and HNJ (collectively, “the Defendants”) violated the Federal Election Campaign Act (“Act”) by arranging for HNJ employees and others to make $67,900 in contributions to the Vern Buchanan for Congress committee (“VBFC”) and then reimbursing them from HNJ funds. The complaint also alleges that HNJ violated the Act by making excessive contributions during the 2006 and 2008 election cycles.
At the time of the alleged violations, HNJ was a car dealership in Jacksonville, Florida, that was organized as a partnership and registered as an LLC. Buchanan owned a majority interest in HNJ until 2008, when Kazran completed the purchase of Buchanan’s remaining interest of HNJ. VBFC was Buchanan’s principal campaign committee during his 2006 and 2008 campaigns for Florida’s 13th Congressional District.
Under 2 U.S.C. §441f of the Act, “[n]o person shall make a contribution in the name of another person or knowingly permit his name to be used to effect such a contribution and no person shall knowingly accept a contribution made by one person in the name of another person.”
The Commission’s complaint alleges that the defendants violated 2 U.S.C. §441f by using HNJ funds to reimburse HNJ employees, Kazran’s business partners, their family members and Kazran’s relatives for $67,900 in contributions to Buchanan’s 2006 and 2008 congressional campaigns. The complaint also alleges that HNJ violated 2 U.S.C. §441a(a) by contributing $49,500 to VBFC during the 2006 election cycle, in excess of the $2,100 per election limit in effect for that cycle, and $18,400 to VBFC during the 2008 election cycle, in excess of the $2,300 per election limit for that cycle.
On September 21, 2010, the Commission found probable cause to believe that HNJ and Kazran violated 2 U.S.C. §441f by using HNJ funds to make contributions to VBFC in the names of others.
The Commission also found probable cause to believe that HNJ violated 2 U.S.C. §441a(a) by making contributions to VBFC in excess of the per election limits for the 2006 and 2008 election cycles. The Commission attempted but failed to reach a conciliation agreement with the defendants and voted to authorize this civil suit.
Source: FEC Record -- February 2011 [PDF].