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March 06, 2009

Rep. Weiner and the alien models

The Gothamist reports that Rep. Anthony Weiner is accused of accepting illegal contributions to his mayoral campaign from alien fashion models:

Back in June, not long after Weiner made headlines by pushing for visa changes to make it easier for foreign models to work here, a fundraiser was held for his campaign at Merkato 55. According to the Post, the gala was co-hosted by an immigration lawyer whose firm represents some of the top modeling agencies, and several foreign models in attendance made donations ranging from $300 to $500. That's illegal—not because Weiner is rallying to their cause—but because they're not citizens. Weiner's spokesman says it was a simple mistake; they never even deposited the checks, which were returned months ago, and one the models doesn't actually recall attending the party (no surprise there).

It's not necessarily Weiner's fault that a handful of donors tried to contribute to his campaign when they weren't legally entitled to do so. The Weiner camp says it never deposited the checks. Although, according to the Post the campaign did count those donations in towards its total dollars raised when applying for public matching funds--which shouldn't have happened if these weren't legit contributions.


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The co-owner of Merkato, Kyky Conille, is listed as the "bundler" who gathered the contributions.

But one of the foreign models listed as giving, Noemie Lenoir, said through her French agent that she had no recollection of making a donation. Conille, who is listed as the bundler for Lenoir, too, also said he didn't remember her being at the fund-raiser.

Weiner spokesman John Collins said, "We returned the checks months ago. They were never deposited in the first place."

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