Reprinted with permission from Alternet
Out of the blue President Donald Trump on Tuesday pardoned or commuted the sentences of eleven people. One of those who received a full pardon from the president is Paul Pogue, the founder of a large Texas construction company.
Pogue pleaded guilty to underpaying his taxes over a three-year period by $473,000. The White House published a long list of the charitable giving Pogue has made to support Trump’s decision to issue the pardon.
“For more than 30 years, he has provided significant humanitarian aid to countries around the world, including Africa, India, and Mexico, all while continuing to help his fellow Americans in times of need,” the White House stated. “Mr. Pogue is the founder of two non-profit organizations. One constructs churches, clinics, schools, and orphanages in developing countries.”
What the White House neglected to mention are donations to the Trump campaign made by his family after his conviction.
“According to FEC filings, Pogue’s family has donated hundreds of thousands of dollars in direct contributions and in-kind air travel to the Trump Victory Fund,” The Daily Beast’s Justin Baragona and Asawin Suebsaeng report. “Beginning in August 2019, Ben Pogue—CEO of Pogue Construction and son of Paul Pogue—and his wife Ashleigh made over $200,000 in contributions to the campaign.”
The Daily Beast notes that just this past August, “Ben Pogue donated $85,000 to Trump Victory while Ashleigh Pogue contributed $50,000 that month. The following month, Ben Pogue made an in-kind air travel contribution of $75,404.40. The couple also made several large donations to the Republican National Committee and each donated $5,600 to Donald Trump for President Inc.”
Along the way the Pogues a few made smaller political donations, including to Rick Santorum’s 2016 presidential campaign. Now a CNN contributor, Santorum argued for Pogue’s pardon.
“In 2015, Pogue and his family contributed $11,000 to Santorum’s 2016 campaign,” the Philadelphia Inquirer reports, making clear that Santorum “helped secure a pardon” for Pogue.