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Ford received donations from California family allegedly involved in straw donor scheme

Attorney General Aaron Ford said he would donate the money to charities, as several California elected officials have done since the revelations. 
Tabitha Mueller
Tabitha Mueller
State Government

Campaign finance records show that Attorney General Aaron Ford received $16,000 in donations from members of a politically connected family allegedly involved in laundering campaign contributions to candidates across California and was the focus of a recent FBI raid.

The $16,000 Ford, a Democrat, received during his 2022 re-election bid came from David Duong, CEO of California Waste Solutions, and his son Andy Duong, who donated $10,000 and $6,000, respectively. 

In a statement from his campaign Monday, Ford said he would donate the contributions to charities, as several California elected officials have done since the revelations. He also said the Duong family has contributed to candidates across the country, including Democratic and Republican nominees for president and various members of Congress.

“Having seen reporting about this matter, which was the first time I learned of the allegations, I have decided to donate the contributions my campaign received to charitable organizations,” Ford said.

The day after making his first donation to Ford, Andy Duong posted a photo on his Instagram with the caption, “supporting our phenomenal leader Aaron Ford Attorney General of Nevada. Go team #fordfornevada #LB1111.” He also tagged the attorney general.

Records do not indicate that the Duong family donated to any other Nevada politician or campaign.

Revelations of the Nevada donations follow recent raids by FBI agents into members of the Duong family, who own the family-run recycling company California Waste Solutions. The FBI also investigated Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao, who, according to court records obtained by KRON4, received laundered donations from the Duong family and traveled to Vietnam as part of a trade delegation partly sponsored by the Vietnamese American Business Association, a group led by members of the Duong family. California Waste Solutions has contracts with the cities of Oakland and San Jose. 

In a statement issued after the raid, Thao said she was not charged with a crime, is innocent and noted that the timing is suspicious because it followed the announcement that a recall effort seeking to oust her from office had enough signatures to qualify for the ballot.

California Waste Solutions has also maintained its innocence. 

The FBI has not indicated why it conducted the raids. 

After the FBI raids, the San José Spotlight reported that many politicians within Silicon Valley who received contributions from Duong family members intend to return or donate the money to other causes. Those politicians include Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA), California Assemblymember Evan Low (D) and Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA).

Political journalist Steve Sebelius first tweeted Monday about Ford’s intention to donate the money to other organizations.

A 2021 report from California’s Fair Political Practices Commission alleges that David and Andy Duong made at least 93 campaign contributions through intermediates or “straw donors” instead of disclosing their recycling company as the source of the contributions. A spokesperson for the commission told the San José Spotlight in late June that the investigation is still open.

This story was updated on 7/1/2024 at 10:25 a.m. to include a statement from Attorney General Aaron Ford's campaign.


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