Bloomberg is reporting today that former rap star Pras Michel, one of the founding members of the hip-hop group The Fugees, will be charged with campaign finance violations over foreign donations to an Obama super PAC in the 2012 election cycle.
Michel will be accused in Washington of contributing funds to pro-Obama organizations without disclosing their foreign origin — specifically Jho Low, who is accused of masterminding a massive diversion of cash from Malaysia’s 1MDB wealth fund — one of the people said. At least one other individual could be charged in connection to the matter, that person said.
Barry Pollack, a lawyer for Michel, didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment. A Justice Department representative declined to comment.
The charges, as described, are an outgrowth of a sprawling Justice Department investigation into fraud and corruption at 1MDB, a wealth fund that was intended to promote economic development in Malaysia. It was instead treated like a massive slush fund by Jho Low, an adviser to Malaysia’s then-prime minister, Najib Razak, U.S. prosecutors have said.
Barack Obama’s presidential campaigns have previously come under fire for accepting untraceable donations. In 2013, they paid the largest FEC fine in history as a result. It’s hardly surprising that organizations that supported Obama were also accepting foreign donations to support his campaign.
Pras Michel was a founding member of Obama’s Organizing For Action group, and visited the White House multiple times during Obama’s presidency.
Matt Margolis is the author of The Scandalous Presidency of Barack Obama and the bestselling The Worst President in History: The Legacy of Barack Obama. His new book, Trumping Obama: How President Trump Saved Us From Barack Obama’s Legacy, will be published in July 2019. You can follow Matt on Twitter @MattMargolis