Ray LaHood failed to disclose $50,000 check with foreign ties

Mr. LaHood did not disclose the check on two government ethics forms, federal prosecutors said.,

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Ray LaHood, Obama’s transportation secretary, failed to disclose a $50,000 check from an associate of a Lebanese-Nigerian billionaire.

Ray LaHood with President Barack Obama at the White House in 2013.
Ray LaHood with President Barack Obama at the White House in 2013.Credit…Doug Mills/The New York Times
  • March 31, 2021, 10:55 p.m. ET

Ray LaHood, who served as transportation secretary for President Barack Obama from 2009 to 2013, took $50,000 from an associate of a Lebanese-Nigerian billionaire in 2012 and failed to disclose it, federal prosecutors announced Wednesday.

Mr. LaHood, a former Republican congressman from Illinois, paid a $40,000 fine, according to the announcement from the U.S. attorney’s office in Los Angeles. He also repaid the $50,000 he had received.

The office said that Mr. LaHood, who was “suffering financial difficulties” at the time, admitted to accepting a $50,000 check from an associate of the billionaire, Gilbert Chagoury. The memo of the check said “Loan,” the office said.

Mr. LaHood did not disclose the check on two government ethics forms because he “did not want to be associated with Chagoury,” and he later “made misleading statements” to F.B.I. agents, the office said.

Efforts to reach Mr. LaHood or a representative Wednesday evening were not immediately successful.

In a separate matter, the office said Mr. Chagoury had paid $1.8 million to resolve allegations related to illegal foreign campaign contributions.

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