Capitol Alert

Democrat Scott Peters returns donation from Rep. Ami Bera’s father

Babulal Bera, 83, second from left, the father of Rep. Ami Bera, D-Elk Grove, pleaded guilty Tuesday in Sacramento federal court to two felony counts of election fraud involving the finances of his son’s campaign committee.
Babulal Bera, 83, second from left, the father of Rep. Ami Bera, D-Elk Grove, pleaded guilty Tuesday in Sacramento federal court to two felony counts of election fraud involving the finances of his son’s campaign committee. Special to The Bee

Democratic Rep. Scott Peters, representing a swing district centered in San Diego, said Thursday that he’s returned a contribution from the father of Rep. Ami Bera, who this week pleaded guilty to two felony counts of election fraud involving the finances of his son’s campaign committee.

In a prepared statement, Peters spokeswoman MaryAnne Pintar said the campaign mailed a refund check to the elder Bera on Wednesday.

Pintar said while Babulal Bera’s $5,400 contribution to Peters last year was a legal donation, “given the news that broke on Tuesday, we decided that returning it was appropriate under the circumstances.”

Peters and other Democrats have come under pressure from Republicans and their allies to return the donations from Babulal Bera, despite results of the ongoing 18-month investigation showing the kickback scheme involving nearly $270,000 came in the 2010 and ’12 election cycles.

Rep. Patrick Murphy, a Democrat running for U.S. Senate in Florida, said he planned to donate the Babulal Bera contributions to charity.

Babulal Bera, 83, a retired engineer, admitted to to making campaign contributions that exceeded the legal maximum by funneling the money through family members, friends and acquaintances. Federal officials said Tuesday that their investigation had turned up no evidence indicating the younger Bera, who lives in Elk Grove, or his staff was aware of his father’s crimes.

Peters and Bera were elected in 2012, defeating California incumbents. They represent evenly divided districts and are perennial targets of the GOP.

Christopher Cadelago: 916-326-5538, @ccadelago

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