Houston businessman gets probation for for illegal donations

HOUSTON (AP) — An 80-year-old Houston businessman has been sentenced to two years of probation after he pleaded guilty to making illegal political contributions to U.S. congressional candidates.

Prosecutors had sought a two-year prison sentence for James Dannenbaum but a judge Wednesday opted for probation and a $100,000 fine.

“This is a difficult case,” said Judge Sim Lake, citing Dannenbaum's health, his philanthropy, but also the fact that he pushed employees of his engineering firm to make more than $300,000 in illegal donations to 26 campaigns over three years, the Houston Chronicle reported.

Prosecutors said Dannenbaum did not reveal to any of the federal candidates that the company was the true source of the political contributions.

Dannenbaum, the former CEO of Houston-based Dannenbaum Engineering Corp., pleaded guilty last year to violating the Federal Election Campaign Act.