Obama forced to return $200,000 tied to fugitive Mexican tycoon - Americas - World - The Independent

Obama forced to return $200,000 tied to fugitive Mexican tycoon

Move comes as President urges more campaign funding to match Republicans

Embarrassed it might have taken blood-tainted money, Barack Obama's re-election campaign said it was returning donations of $200,000 (£125,000) from two American supporters after learning that they have a brother known as the "Casino Czar" in Mexico linked to corruption and political violence there.

The swift action by the campaign came after an inquiry about the donations from The New York Times. The newspaper had also learned that the brother, Juan Jose Rojas Cardona, whose casino interests are based in Monterrey, Mexico, jumped bail in Iowa in 1994, where he studied in university, and disappeared. A State Department cable first made public by WikiLeaks also said that the fugitive, more commonly called Pepe Cardona, may have been involved in the assassination in Mexico of a business rival.

The two brothers, who seemingly have been seeking to have their brother cleared of probation violations in the US courts, were identified as Alberto and Carlos Cardona. Both had emerged fairly recently as big donors to Mr Obama and the Democratic Party as well as bundlers seeking to persuade others to contribute.

Separately, the campaign revealed that Mr Obama is to encourage donations to the super-PAC that is backing him, Priorities USA Action. The President has criticised the 2010 Supreme Court ruling that allows unlimited donations to outside groups operating independently of campaigns. But with many groups lining up to help the eventual Republican nominee, it became clear Mr Obama would have to join them not beat them. The super-PACs cannot coordinate directly with campaigns but have played a major role in the Republican primary contests by funding millions in negative ads.

"We are not going to fight this fight with one hand tied behind our back," said Jim Messina, the President's campaign manager. "With so much at stake, we can't allow for two sets of rules."

Mr Messina sent out an email to Obama supporters on Monday night: "Due to unlimited and unprecedented super-PAC spending, we may have no spending advantage (as we did in 2008) and could in fact get outspent. I thought this might help you put the other side's efforts into some context as you talk to friends and supporters about why we need their help and we need it now."

The Obama campaign said it had not been aware of the Cardona brothers' family background when it accepted their support. It isn't clear if they were giving the money in the hope that the President might be able to assist in cleaning the legal slate of their brother in the US.

"On the basis of the questions that have been raised, we will return the contributions from these individuals and from any other donors they brought to the campaign," Ben LaBolt, a spokesman for the Obama campaign, told The New York Times.

Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Thicke's video for 'Blurred Lines' has been criticised for condoning rape
music
News
Paper trail: the wedding photograph found in the rubble after 9/11 – it took Elizabeth Keefe 13 years to find the people in it
newsWho are the people in this photo? It took Elizabeth Stringer Keefe 13 years to find out
Arts and Entertainment
Matt Damon as Jason Bourne in The Bourne Ultimatum (2007)
filmMatt Damon in talks to return
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Evil eye: Douglas Adams in 'mad genius' pose
booksNew biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Life and Style
Bono and Apple CEO Tim Cook announced U2's surprise new album at the iPhone 6 launch
tech(but you can't escape: Bono is always on your iPhone)
Sport
FootballFull debuts don't come much more stylish than those on show here
Arts and Entertainment
Fringe show: 'Cilla', with Sheridan Smith in the title role and Aneurin Barnard as her future husband Bobby Willis
tvEllen E Jones on ITV's 'Cilla'
News
i100
Sport
Tim Wiese
sport
Life and Style
Kim Kardashian drawn backlash over her sexy swimsuit selfie, called 'disgusting' and 'nasty'
fashionCritics say magazine only pays attention to fashion trends among rich, white women
Arts and Entertainment
TVShows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Arts and Entertainment
Hit the roof: hot-tub cinema east London
architectureFrom pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
Travel
travel
News
The ecological reconstruction of Ikrandraco avatar is shown in this illustration courtesy of Chuang Zhao. Scientists on September 11, 2014 announced the discovery of fossils in China of a type of flying reptile called a pterosaur that lived 120 millions years ago and so closely resembled those creatures from the 2009 film, Avatar that they named it after them.
SCIENCE
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Project Manager with some Agile experience

£45000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based in Chelmsf...

Data/ MI Analyst

£25000 - £30000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client are cur...

KS1 Teacher Cornwall

£23500 - £40000 per annum: Randstad Education Plymouth: Randstad Education Ltd...

Corporate Communications Manager - London - up to £80,000

£60000 - £80000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Corporate Marketing Communications M...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week