The former campaign manager for 2012 Congressional candidate Chris Donovan was sentenced Thursday for his role in a scheme to direct illegal campaign contributions in Donovan's run for office.
Joshua Nassi, 35, formerly of Fairfield, was sentenced to 28 months in prison followed by one year of supervised release and fined $6,000, according to an announcement by the United States Attorney’s office and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
During the 2012 legislative session, Nassi and an employee of a “roll
your own” smoke shop in Waterbury fraudulently donated thousands of
dollars to then-U.S. House of Representatives candidate Chris Donovan’s
campaign, according to a news release from the U.S. Department of
Justice. At the time, Nassi was Donovan’s campaign manager.
Court documents described the scheme this way:
The scheme consisted of multiple recruits that served as contributors to the campaign. The recruits allowed checks to be written in their names and subsequently given to the campaign. The recruits were later given cash, which disguised the fact that the smoke shops were illegally donating to the campaign, according to the news release.
Over a two-month period in 2011, Nassi and other participants in the scheme made four $2,500 conduit contributions to the campaign. The campaign later submitted the report to the Federal Election Commission (“FEC”), falsely stating the source and amount of the contributions that were received and deposited, according to the news release.
In April 2013, Nassi pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to make false statements to the Federal Election Commission and to impede the FEC’s enforcement of federal campaign finance laws.
“Seeking to gain an edge in a high-pressure congressional campaign, this defendant traded promises of legislative action in exchange for illegal campaign contributions,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Daly. “His criminal behavior undermines the principles of transparency and fairness that are the bedrock of our electoral and political processes. We are confident that this prison term, along with those previously imposed in this case, send a clear message to campaign workers whose ethics may be tested.”
“Good honest government, for the people and by the people, has no room for the actions of political insiders like Mr. Nassi, who was willing to trade influence over pending legislation in exchange for contributions to a federal campaign that he was steering,” said Acting FBI Special Agent in Charge Glover. “The election process in this country is the very foundation of democratic society and the integrity of that process must be protected. Today’s sentence is appropriate and just, and serves as notice that the FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s Office are fully committed to investigating and prosecuting corruption at all levels of government.”
Several other convictions have been made stemming from this scheme, and the matter remains under investigation by the FBI, according to the news release.
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