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Witness - Ryan daughters got campaign funds
CHICAGO -- Thousands of dollars in campaign money was given to former Gov. George Ryan's four daughters, although they did no political work, a federal jury was told Wednesday in the trial of a former Ryan aide and a campaign committee.
The money originally came from the short-lived 1996 presidential campaign of Phil Gramm, a former Texas senator. Ryan, then Illinois secretary of state, endorsed the fellow Republican and put his statewide campaign organization to work for him. Money for the Illinois campaign was routed through a political consulting firm owned by a Ryan ally, Alan Drazek.
Internal Revenue Service documents introduced by the prosecution showed the daughters received a total of $9,675.20, but Drazek testified that they did no campaign work.
Drazek also said two of Ryan's top aides received Gramm campaign money. The IRS documents showed Scott Fawell, Ryan's one-time chief of staff, got $11,541.72 and Richard Juliano, his 1998 deputy campaign manager, got $11,111.72.
According to earlier testimony, both Fawell and Juliano did some Gramm campaign work, under orders from Ryan, while they were on state time.
Fawell, 45, and the Citizens for Ryan campaign committee are charged in a 10-count indictment with using their campaign organization as part of a racketeering enterprise for much of a decade.
They are among 59 state workers and others who have been charged in a corruption investigation centered on the secretary of state's office under Ryan.
Fifty-three people have been convicted in the investigation, which began as a probe into the trading of driver's licenses for bribes.
Ryan stepped down in January after deciding not to run for a second term. He has not been charged with any wrongdoing.
There has been no suggestion that Gramm or his campaign had any knowledge of the payments.
Attorney Jeffrey Cole, who represents three of the four Ryan daughters, said later Wednesday they did nothing wrong.
"It is my understanding that, in fact, the daughters were involved in the Gramm campaign, though I cannot tell you to what extent," Cole said. "There was absolutely no impropriety of any kind on their part."
Cole represents daughters Linda Fairman, Jo Ann Barrow and Julie R. Koehl. Efforts to reach the fourth Ryan daughter, Nancy Coghlan, for comment were unsuccessful.
Drazek, a fixture in Illinois GOP politics, recently pleaded guilty to hiding bribe money from the IRS. He testified as a prosecution witness in hopes that his cooperation would be considered at his sentencing.
Drazek said his American Management Resources consulting firm was the primary contact for dealing with the Gramm campaign.
He said that at the aides' instructions he made out their checks to Fawell's SRS Consulting and Juliano's 88 Consulting -- both one-man firms.
Drazek said it was either Fawell or Juliano who told him to pay additional money to Ryan's daughters.
"Did you know who these women were?" Assistant U.S. Attorney Zachary Fardon asked.
"No, I didn't," Drazek said. He said he had never met them but was eventually told by Juliano they were Ryan's daughters.