SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — The president of a super PAC in Puerto Rico who pled guilty to hiding the identity of donors who supported the U.S. territory’s governor during his 2020 election campaign was sentenced Friday to 14 months in federal prison.
Joseph Fuentes Fernández also served as treasurer for Salvemos a Puerto Rico — Let’s Save Puerto Rico — and had raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for Gov. Pedro Pierluisi’s campaign.
Pierluisi is not charged in the case and has stressed that his campaign committee did not coordinate its activities with any PAC, including Salvemos a Puerto Rico. The island’s electoral comptroller’s office previously audited and cleared Pierluisi’s campaign committee.
Fuentes and others were accused of forming two shell nonprofit organizations and soliciting donations. The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Puerto Rico said Fuentes and others then reported to the Federal Election Commission that the two nonprofits had donated the funds instead of revealing the true source behind the money.
Federal authorities said the super PAC was ordered to pay a $150,000 fine and placed on a three-year probation.
Super PACs — unlike traditional PACs — are barred from donating money directly to political candidates. They also are required to report donors to the Federal Elections Commission.