Tim Johnson's Tainted Campaign Cash, Part III
But it gets still fishier. It turns out that on October 28, 2000 -- the very same day that Hurtgen's wife gave Johnson $1000 -- Johnson also received $1000 from Stuart Levine, who was indicted as Nicholas Hurtgen's co-conspirator in the same fraud. (UPDATE: Levine pleaded guilty today.)
So let's review. Just 10 days before a close election (Johnson beat Mike Kelleher 53%-47%), Hurtgen's wife and his indicted co-conspirator each give the maximum to Johnson. Hurtgen, who can't give Johnson money because federal anti-corruption rules would then restrict his ability to seek State business -- and in any case couldn't give him more than $1000 under then applicable campaign finance laws -- doesn't give him a cent. We can't know what was in anybody's mind, of course, but it's hard to believe this was a coincidence. The clear inference is that Hurtgen encouraged his confidantes to funnel money to Johnson so as to evade both campaign finance limits and anti-corruption rules designed to prevent exactly this kind of influence peddling.
UPDATE: Also maxing out for Johnson on October 28, 2000, was George Ryan's son, George Jr. As you will recall, Johnson was a favorite recipient of Governor Ryan's largesse. Hurtgen, meanwhile, was a bit player in Ryan's corruption, in addition to his own criminal problems. Oh, what TJW would have given to be a fly on the wall during that fundraiser....