Questions raised over a council member's donations (Thinkstock)

Washington Post columnist Colbert I. King tackles the issue of questionable campaign contributions by an at-large member of the D.C. Council.

On Sept. 20, 1994, Dynamic Energy Resources, Inc., an Oklahoma natural gas company owned by Nora T. Lum and her husband, Gene K.H. Lum, gave a $5,000 check to an officer of the company.


That same day, the officer made a $1,000 contribution in his own name to the reelection campaign of Sen. Edward Kennedy, and he asked three company colleagues to contribute a total of $4,000 to the Kennedy campaign, for which he immediately reimbursed them.

It was a dishonest act. It was also illegal. The Federal Election Campaign Act limits how much money a person can contribute to a federal candidate in an election.

Evading that limit by giving money through another person is against the law. The officer in question funneled $4,000 to a federal candidate through “straw” donors after he had already contributed the maximum permitted under the law.

Read Colbert I. King's complete column at the Washington Post.