U.S. attorney nominee wants Chatwal to serve time

The U.S. attorney nominated by President Barack Obama to be his next attorney general this week asked a federal judge to reject leniency and impose a stiff prison term of up to four-and-a-half years on hotel owner Sant Singh Chatwal, who was convicted of making more than US$180,000 in illegal contributions to Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign, Yahoo News reported Thursday.

The court filing by Loretta Lynch, currently the U.S. attorney in Brooklyn, comes at a time when Lynch could face opposition from Republican lawmakers on her nomination for the top attorney’s job.

The request by Lynch is also being positioned as prosecutors taking a tougher stance on those convicted of making so-called conduit contributions — campaign cash that is falsely reported as being made in the name of others.

Chatwal, 70, chairman of Hampshire Hotels & Resorts, New York City, pleaded guilty to violating federal election law by illegally raising funds for Hillary Clinton and two other federal candidates through the use of straw donors.

In a recent court filing, Chatwal’s lawyer asked that the court show leniency and not send him to prison, citing a long history of humanitarian causes, including his work with Bill Clinton and relief efforts in India.

Hampshire Hotels Management had no comment on the report, calling it a personal matter.