Show an ad over header. AMP

I am the FIRST

FBI investigating alleged massive scheme to illegally finance Susan Collins’ reelection bid

Federal prosecutors are investigating what they call a massive scheme to illegally finance Sen. Susan Collins' 2020 reelection bid, Axios has learned.

What's happening: A recently unsealed search warrant application shows the FBI believes an executive with a Hawaii defense contractor illegally funneled $150,000 to a pro-Collins super PAC and reimbursed family members' donations to Collins' campaign. There's no indication that Collins or her team were aware of any of it.


  • Collins helped the contractor at issue, then called Navatek, secure an $8 million Navy contract before most of the donations took place.
  • The Navatek executive, Martin Kao, was indicted last year for allegedly bilking the federal government of millions in coronavirus relief loans.

The big picture: Federal prosecutors say Kao used a shell company to funnel $150,000 in Navatek funds to a pro-Collins super PAC called 1820 PAC.

  • According to the FBI, Kao and his wife set up a sham LLC called the Society for Young Women Scientists and Engineers. Navatek then wrote the LLC a $150,000 check, investigators say, which was passed on to the super PAC.
  • Government contractors are barred from donating to federal political committees, and investigators suspect the donations were attempts to evade that prohibition.

Investigators say bank records also show that Kao illegally reimbursed family members who donated to Collins' campaign, a practice known as a "straw" donation.

  • Navatek reimbursed some of Kao's colleagues for their Collins campaign contributions, the FBI alleges.
  • The donations came in clusters, according to federal contribution records, between June and September 2019.
  • The warrant quotes an email exchange between Kao, who had just maxed out to Collins' campaign, and the senator's Maine finance director. "If you have friends or family members that would be willing to donate please don’t hesitate to send them my way," the Collins staffer wrote.

Read the search warrant application:

E3 2021: Nintendo and Ubisoft team up again with Switch sequel “Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope"

Two of gaming’s biggest companies are creating a game together for the third time in five years with a Switch sequel, “Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope.”

Why it matters: Nintendo rarely lets other companies work with its characters, making its continued partnerships with Ubisoft a rare sign of trust.

Keep reading... Show less

In photos: Harris shows up at Pride parade in downtown D.C.

Vice President Kamala Harris dropped in at the Capitol Pride Walk And Rally in Washington, D.C., on Saturday.

The state of play: Harris and second gentleman, Doug Emhoff, joined the crowd, who welcomed them with cheers, according to press reports.

Keep reading... Show less

A "new industrial revolution" presses the reset button on work

The endgame of the pandemic is giving both employers and workers a chance to create a more humane relationship — both in the office and out of it.

The big picture: Companies need workers, but many employees aren't ready to go back to the way things used to be. A hybrid setup could provide the best possible way forward, if both sides are willing to give.

Keep reading... Show less

Blue Origin auctions off a trip to the edge of space for $28 million

A seat aboard Blue Origin’s first crewed flight to suborbital space fetched $28 million during a live auction on Saturday.

Why it matters: While the market for suborbital tourist flights to space may not be huge, experts say it's an important, public-facing part of the space industry that could popularize it as more people start flying.

Keep reading... Show less

Macron at G7: "It's great to have the U.S. president part of the club"

U.S. President Biden and his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron were all smiles and handshakes during their first formal, in-person meeting on Saturday, with Macron telling pool reporters "it's great to have the U.S. president part of the club."

Why it matters: Biden has made rebuilding the United States' global leadership central to his foreign policy, frequently touting, "America is back."

Keep reading... Show less

More than dozen injured in downtown Austin shooting

A shooting in a busy part of downtown Austin, Texas, early Saturday injured at least 13 people, including two who are in critical condition.

The state of play: Gunfire erupted around 1:30 a.m. along 6th Street, a popular area with bars and restaurants. The suspected shooter remains at large, Austin police said. "It is unknown if there is one, or multiple suspects involved," they noted, adding the shooting appears to be an isolated incident.

Keep reading... Show less

Biden to urge G7 to take unified approach to countering China

President Biden on Saturday is expected to urge fellow G7 leaders to adopt a unified approach to countering China's rising global influence, AP reports.

Driving the news: The G7 leaders are set to unveil a multi-billion-dollar global infrastructure plan aimed at rivaling Beijing's efforts in the developing world.

Keep reading... Show less

Insights

mail-copy

Get Goodhumans in your inbox

Most Read

More Stories