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FEC: Government contractor fined $1M

Nov. 1, 2007 at 5:19 PM

WASHINGTON, Nov. 1 (UPI) -- A government contractor has agreed to pay $1 million in civil penalties for an illegal contribution reimbursement scheme, the U.S. elections watchdog said.

The Federal Elections Commission said the civil penalty against MZM Inc. and its one-time chief executive Mitchell Wade represents the second largest financial punishment in the commission's 32-year history.

The FEC said in a news release it unanimously approved a conciliation agreement in which Wade admitted he violated the Federal Election Campaign Act by funneling $78,000 in corporate contributions to two federal candidates.

"There are serious consequences for those who knowingly and willfully try to funnel illegal contributions into federal election campaigns," said Robert Lenhard, FEC chairman.

Wade used MZM corporate funds to reimburse employees and their spouses for contributions to the campaign committees of Representatives Virgil Goode, R-Va., and Katherine Harris, R-Fla., the commission said.

Wade pleaded guilty in February 2006 to multiple felony counts, including one count of election fraud by unlawfully making campaign contributions in the name of another.

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