Where there is smoke lies the possibility of fire.
Some of the most prolific givers in Sargeant's network live in modest homes in Southern California's Inland Empire. Most had never given a political contribution before being contacted by Sargeant or his associates. Most said they have never voiced much interest in politics. And in several instances, they had never registered to vote. And yet, records show, some families have ponied up as much as $18,400 for various candidates between December and March.
Both Sargeant and the donors were vague when asked to explain how Sargeant persuaded them to give away so much money.
'I have a lot of Arab business partners. I do a lot of business in the Middle East. I've got a lot of friends,' Sargeant said in a telephone interview yesterday. 'I ask my friends to support candidates that I think are worthy of supporting. They usually come through for me.' "
Florida governor Charlie Crist, a possible McCain running mate and a sudden flip-flopper on the issue of allowing offshore drilling in Florida is also a beneficiary of this network of big cash flowing in suspiciously.