FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 29, 1997

CRM (202) 514-2008 TDD (202) 514-1888

FORMER CONGRESSWOMAN OAKAR IS CHARGED, AGREES TO PLEAD GUILTY WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The Department of Justice announced today that Mary Rose Oakar, former Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Ohio, has been charged with two federal misdemeanors in an information filed today in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, and that Oakar has agreed to plead guilty to the charges. The information charged Oakar, 57, of Cleveland, who served in Congress from 1977 to 1993, with violating the conspiracy statute, Title 18, United States Code, Section 371, based on her efforts to conceal campaign contributions made in others' names and an excessive campaign contribution to her 1992 reelection campaign, and causing the making and concealing of campaign contributions in others' names to her campaign, in violation of the Federal Election Campaign Act, Title 2, United States Code, Sections 441f and 437g(d). The information alleges that from about May, 1992 through September, 1992, Oakar and others conspired to make a total of $16,000 in campaign contributions in others' names, and to have $9,000 of that $16,000 made as an excessive campaign contribution, to her Congressional reelection campaign. The Federal Election Campaign Act prohibits any person from contributing more than $1,000 to a candidate for federal office in any primary or general election. Oakar is charged with having contacted people to see whether those people would be willing to allow their names, or the names of people they knew, to be used as contributors to Oakar's campaign, even though the people contacted would not be providing the funds for those contributions. Oakar is also charged with causing the making of the $16,000 in contributions in other people's names, and conspiring to cause a total of $9,000 as an excessive contribution, to her campaign. The Federal Election Campaign Act also requires the principal campaign committee for each candidate for federal office to file reports listing the amounts of contributions and the identities of the contributors. Oakar is charged with having sought to mislead, misinform, and provide false information to the Federal Election Commission about the identities of certain persons who made campaign contributions, as well as the amounts of contributions made by certain persons, to her 1992 campaign.

Oakar faces a maximum penalty of two years' imprisonment and a $200,000 fine. Under the terms of the plea agreement filed with the court, Oakar has agreed to plead guilty to the charges and to pay a $32,000 fine -- twice the amount of the funds involved in the $16,000 illegal campaign contributions -- and will seek a sentence of probation. In a related matter, the Department of Justice has concluded an agreement with Oakar's codefendant, Joseph DeMio, who was charged in one count of the pending indictment against Oakar. Under the terms of that agreement, DeMio, who acknowledged that he allowed his and his wife's names to be used in connection with contributions to the 1992 Oakar campaign, is to submit to the jurisdiction of the Federal Election Commission in any compliance proceedings against him in connection with the 1992 Oakar campaign. The government will move to dismiss the charge against DeMio upon his complete fulfillment of all obligations in his plea agreement that relate to FEC compliance proceedings. Oakar and DeMio were initially charged in a seven-count felony indictment on February 22, 1995, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. After extensive pretrial challenges to the indictment, the District Court dismissed the first two counts of the indictment, which respectively alleged that Oakar had written a $16,000 insufficient funds check on her account at the former House Bank in the House of Representatives and had made a false statement concerning at least $50,000 in liabilities on her 1991 Financial Disclosure Statement filed with the House of Representatives. The District Court also struck portions of Count Four, which alleged Oakar's conspiring to defraud the Federal Election Commission and to make false statements within the jurisdiction of the Commission. (Count Four was the only count in which DeMio was charged.) After the government appealed the dismissal of Count Two and the striking of portions of Count Four, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit affirmed the District Court's decision on Count Two but reversed the District Court's decision on Count Four. Federal prosecutors said the agreements with Oakar and DeMio constitute an appropriate and fair resolution of the pending charges against them. The information and agreements stem from the Department of Justice's investigation of the House of Representatives Bank. This case is being handled by a Senior Litigation Counsel from the Fraud Section, Criminal Division, who was part of the Criminal Division's House Bank Task Force, by a Senior Trial Attorney from the Public Integrity Section, Criminal Division, and by Special Agents of the FBI, Washington, D.C. The Task Force was formed in December, 1992 to continue the work of the preliminary inquiry into the House Bank that Malcolm R. Wilkey, retired judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, conducted as a special counsel to

the Attorney General in 1992. ### 97-407