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San Diego Campaign Finance Scandal Back In Court

José Susumo Azano Matsura speaks to 10News during a 2011 interview.
José Susumo Azano Matsura speaks to 10News during a 2011 interview.

A federal judge Friday refused to dismiss charges against a wealthy Mexican businessman accused of funneling money into local political campaigns, including those of District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis, former San Diego Mayor Bob Filner and Rep. Juan Vargas, D-San Diego.

It is illegal for foreign nationals to make contributions to U.S. campaigns. In a court motion, attorneys for Jose Susumo Azano Matsura said laws banning such donations are unconstitutional because they limit free speech based on identity. During Friday's arguments, they also made the case that Azano is not just any foreign national, because he is married to a U.S. citizen, has two homes in the United States and pays U.S. taxes.

U.S. District Judge Michael Anello rejected these arguments, saying the bottom line is that Azano is not a U.S. citizen. He cited Bluman v. FEC, a Supreme Court decision that upheld the constitutionality of the law barring foreign nationals from donating to U.S. elections.


Anello also rejected a motion to dismiss charges against defendant Ravneet Singh, who runs an internet campaign services company called ElectionMall. He is accused of helping Azano make the donations, along with political lobbyist Marco Polo Cortes.

From The San Diego Union-Tribune: Filner an early target of Azano investigation

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