Charges against two men, including a Davenport attorney, accused of illegally channeling a $25,000 campaign contribution to former Iowa Gov. Chet Culver in 2009 have been dropped.
Davenport attorney Curtis Beason, a partner in Lane & Waterman LLP in Davenport, and Steven James Daniel of Fort Dodge and his company, Webster County Entertainment, had been charged with willful failure to disclose a campaign contribution, making a campaign contribution in the name of another and obstruction of prosecution.
Beason entered into a plea agreement to a reduced charge of interference with official acts, a simple misdemeanor under Iowa law. Beason entered an Alford plea and received a deferred judgment for 12 months. After 12 months, the case will be dismissed and expunged from the record.
An Alford plea means the defendant admits the state likely has enough evidence to convict but he does not admit guilt.
Dana Waterman, managing partner of Lane & Waterman, said, “The firm is very pleased by the favorable resolution of this matter without any admission or adjudication of guilt or liability on the part of our partner, Mr. Beason.”
All of the charges against Daniel were dropped.
Daniel’s company, Webster County Entertainment, entered an Alford plea to failure to file a campaign report.
The charges against Beason and Daniel claimed that they had agreed to take $25,000 from Peninsula Gaming Partners and give it to Culver’s gubernatorial campaign in November 2009. The money allegedly was covered up as a consultant fee.
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It is illegal in Iowa to make, or knowingly receive, a political contribution in another’s name.
The case was to go to trial Monday. A special prosecutor was handling the case.
Charges against Peninsula Gaming’s chief executive, Martin Brent Stevens, and the company’s chief executive officer, Jonathan Swain, were dismissed in May 2011.
When that occurred, Beason’s attorney, Mark Weinhardt, said that, “Mr. Beason is aware of the dismissals announced today but believes the special prosecutor did not go far enough.” Weinhardt went on to say, “We have always contended that no crime was committed by anyone in this matter.”
As of Friday, after almost three years of investigations and legal banter, the case now is closed with no convictions for illegal campaign contributions.