George Nader, a convicted child sex offender who was a key witness in Robert Mueller's Russia investigation, is one of eight people to be charged with funneling more than $3 million of illegal campaign contributions to boost a 2016 presidential candidate.
Although the Department of Justice memo did not name the candidate, FEC records "make clear" the illegal scheme was meant to help Hillary Clinton, Politico reported.
The Justice Department said in a press release Tuesday:
According to the indictment, from March 2016 through January 2017, [co-conspirator Ahmad "Andy"] Khawaja conspired with Nader to conceal the source of more than $3.5 million in campaign contributions, directed to political committees associated with a candidate for President of the United States in the 2016 election.
By design, these contributions appeared to be in the names of Khawaja, his wife, and his company. In reality, they allegedly were funded by Nader. Khawaja and Nader allegedly made these contributions in an effort to gain influence with high-level political figures, including the candidate. As Khawaja and Nader arranged these payments, Nader allegedly reported to an official from a foreign government about his efforts to gain influence.
According to the Washington Post, Khawaja gave $3 million to Democratic groups and candidates in 2016, $1 million of which went to the super PAC backing Clinton's campaign. He also gave $1 million to Trump's inauguration fund.
The donations earned Khawaja access to Clinton during the 2016 election and an Oval Office meeting with Trump after the election, the Associated Press reported.
For his part, Nader was questioned by Mueller's investigators in 2018 regarding suspicious connections he had with Russia, the United Arab Emirates, and top Trump advisers, according to the New York Times. Nader even acted as a liaison between Trump's advisers and the UAE, and he visited Stephen Bannon at the White house numerous times in 2017.
However, Nader was never charged in relation to Mueller's investigation.
As the DOJ noted, Nader is currently in federal custody on unrelated charges. He was charged in July for traveling with a minor to engage in illegal sexual activity and importing child pornography. Nader pleaded not guilty to those charges. In 1991, Nader was similarly convicted on felony child pornography charges.