Roberto and William Isaias, sentenced in an embezzlement case in Ecuador, and fugitives from such country, moved to Miami to live off their work after the scandal heated in their home country. Since then, they have been buying themselves mansions, Rolls-Royces and financing American political campaigns. Including contributing 90.000 to President Obama’s re-election campaign, in addition to a number of Senators, including Senator Robert Menendez, Sen. Marco Rubio and Representative Joe Garcia. All of whom have helped the family with immigration troubles. The administration itself rejected Ecuador’s extradition request for the men, fueling accusations that the donations have helped keep the family in American soil regardless of their rather clear criminal activity (both brothers have a red notice from the Interpol)
This case raises significant questions regarding campaign finance and the regulation of political contributions. While corruption is a crime that is very difficult to prosecute because of its secrecy nature, I would say that the Isaias brother’s contributions are arguably an attempt to secure quid pro quos from political office holders. This case exemplifies the preoccupying reality of campaign finance regulation in the U.S and the need for campaign reform. I find an double standard when it comes to regulations required by the government. In the one hand, the U.S Patriot Act clearly prohibits U.S financial institutions from getting involve in business activity with individuals and organizations that are politically exposed or have criminal backgrounds as it presents a high risk of money laundering, but on the other hand the government is allowed to receive financial contributions from such individuals, even it is pretty evident to me that there is an intent behind the contributions. This is a very interesting case and definitely something to think about today, especially when it seems like our government is moving even further from campaign regulation, as evidenced with the late Citizen’s United vs. SEC Supreme Court decisions.