Congressman Ami Bera Reacts After His Father Pleads Guilty to Election Fraud Charges

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DOWNTOWN SACRAMENTO-- "Please" was the only word 83-year-old Babulal Bera uttered while walking out of the federal courthouse with his wife.

On election night in 2014, the father of two-term Congressman Ami Bera had much more to smile about when he told FOX40 he felt confident about his son's chances.

Tuesday, Babulal Bera pleaded guilty to federal charges for making excessive contributions to his son's 2010 and 2012 congressional races.

In 2012, Ami Bera narrowly defeated incumbent Dan Lungren, who expressed his shock and frustration by phone from Washington.

"We didn't suspect that there was anything illegal going, and that's why I'm shocked and disappointed," Lungren said.

According to court documents, the congressman's father illegally recruited family and friends for donations with the promise he'd personally pay them back.

"The investigation has identified over 130 improper campaign contributions involving approximately 90 contributors," said acting U.S. Attorney Phillip Talbert.

Talbert says Babulal Bera reimbursed more than $220,000 in donations in 2010 and more than $40,000 in 2012.

By phone, Congressman Ami Bera told FOX40 he found out about the investigation in October. He describes his father as a good man who's lived the American dream and made a mistake.

Ami Bera beat Republican Doug Ose in 2014.

"I find it hard to believe that someone who campaigns as a good family man, close to his parents, close to his kids all the sudden has amnesia about what his parents might be doing," Ose said.

While investigators say there is no evidence of illegal contributions in 2014 or the current race, Ose and Lungren are angry and predict voters will be too.

"If you're gonna participate in politics you have to follow the damn rules," Ose said.

Babulal Bera will be sentenced August 4.

He's facing up to 30 months in prison.