Texas businessman pleads guilty to making illegal donations

HOUSTON (AP) — A Houston businessman has pleaded guilty to making illegal political contributions as part of a scheme to potentially influence various candidates for federal office.

James Dannenbaum pleaded guilty to violating the Federal Election Campaign Act during a court hearing on Friday in Houston federal court.

The 80-year-old Dannenbaum is the former CEO of Houston-based Dannenbaum Engineering Corp., which was founded in 1945.

Last month, the company and its parent firm entered into a deferred prosecution agreement with federal prosecutors over their role in a multi-year political contribution scheme.

Prosecutors say Dannenbaum admitted that from 2015 through 2017, he and his company made $323,300 in illegal conduit contributions through various employees and their family members to federal candidates and their committees.

Prosecutors say Dannenbaum did not reveal to any of the federal candidates that the company was the true source of the political contributions.

Dannenbaum is set to be sentenced on March 5. He faces up to two years in prison.

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