Campaign finance issues are a touchy subject at the best of times, but for Boston-based personal injury law firm Thornton Law Firm it has become another hot-button issue in the most bizarre election campaign ever in the United States
The issue at stake is the revelation that Thornton Law Firm’s records show paybacks to partners who had contributed to the Democrat campaign, reportedly disguised as bonuses.
And that just could contravene campaign finance laws which reject the reimbursement of people for political donations, which can conceal the source of political donations. In some cases, such as Massachusetts actually render donations from partnerships like Thorntons illegal.
The Boston Globe reported –
From 2010 through 2014, Strouss and Bradley, along with founding partner Michael Thornton and his wife, donated nearly $1.6 million to Democratic Party fund-raising committees and a parade of politicians — from Senate minority leader Harry Reid of Nevada to Hawaii gubernatorial candidate David Ige to Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts. Over the same span, the lawyers received $1.4 million listed as “bonuses” in Thornton Law Firm records; more than 280 of the contributions precisely matched bonuses that were paid within 10 days.
Thornton Law representatives didn’t respond to the Globe’s questions. But they used ex-prosecutor, Brian Kelly to claim that the bonuses were paid from the lawyers’ own money. He said an accountant deducted the payments from their equity, or ownership, in the firm.
When lawyers leave Thornton Law and cash in their equity, he said, their financial settlement with Thornton would be reduced by the amount of the bonuses.
Kelly provided a written statement from Michael Thornton saying that “an error made internally” led to the payments being called bonuses. Thornton said he changed the way they were labeled in 2015, several years into the program, when he discovered the mistake.
“It’s obviously not a crime to make lots of donations to politicians, and they certainly did that,” said Kelly. “But their donation program was vetted by prior counsel and an outside accountant, and the firm made every effort to comply with all applicable laws and regulations.”
Another twist and turn in the weird Trump vs. Clinton election.
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