Saturday, February 11, 2012

Las Vegas Review-Journal: FBI investigates campaign spending by Whittemore

Las Vegas Review-Journal: FBI investigates campaign spending by Whittemore

FBI agents fanned out across the state Thursday serving grand jury subpoenas in a criminal investigation into allegations longtime political power broker Harvey Whittemore was involved in funneling illegal campaign contributions to federal races in Nevada, the Las Vegas Review-Journal has learned.

About two dozen FBI agents served subpoenas on Whittemore business associates and others in some 30 locations in Northern and Southern Nevada, sources said.

Federal prosecutors expect to present evidence in the investigation to a federal grand jury in Reno at the end of the month, the sources said.

Whittemore, once a high-powered lobbyist who has many influential friends in Nevada politics, released a statement Thursday through a spokeswoman for a Las Vegas law firm.

"Understandably, based on the reckless accusations made in the civil lawsuit filed two weeks ago, law enforcement is requesting information from knowledgeable parties," said the statement from Elizabeth Trosper, spokeswoman for the Gordon Silver law firm.

Trosper was referring to a multimillion-dollar lawsuit filed against Whittemore by former business partners alleging embezzlement.

An FBI spokesman declined to confirm or deny the existence of the investigation.

FBI agents visited at least one location Thursday, the Whittemore Peterson Institute, a Reno research facility that focuses on neuro-immune diseases. The Whittemore family created the institute after one of their children who was diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome.

Annette Whittemore, in a brief conversation Thursday, confirmed that FBI agents had gone to the Whittemore Peterson Institute and "interviewed" an employee "involving a personal matter."

When asked whether the interview was in regards to a grand jury subpoena about campaign contribution violations, she said, "I am not at liberty to discuss that."

Annette Whittemore would not identify the employee.

Trosper said in her statement: "To be clear, the Whittemore Peterson Institute has not been raided and is cooperating in these inquiries."

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