FBI Reportedly Probing Campaign Donations Made by De Francis

Federal investigators are interviewing top Maryland lawmakers, as well as lobbyists, and members of the state's racing industry about Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller and his role as chairman of the Democratic Legislative Committee, a fundraising arm of the national Democratic Party.

The Washington Post is reporting that investigators are attempting to learn the details of the about $225,000 in donations given to Miller's committee by Joe DeFrancis, president and chief executive officer of the Maryland Jockey Club.

The investigation is also expanding into the possible expansion of legalized gambling in the state and if political contributions are influencing the debate.

The FBI opened a preliminary investigation into De Francis' 1998 $250,000 donation to Republican Ellen Sauerbrey during her unsuccessful run for governor. The details of that investigation, which began in June, are yet to be released, according to The Washington Post.

Through the years, De Francis has been one of the largest contributors to Miller's national committee. The committee, which promotes Democratic control of state legislators nationwide, spent around $450,000 in Maryland during the last election, according to a report from The Washington Post.

De Francis' attorney told The Washington Post that his client has spoken with investigators but maintains that De Francis did nothing wrong.

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