SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — The father of a California congressman has been released from federal prison after serving most of his sentence for illegally funneling nearly $270,000 in contributions to his son’s campaign.
Babulal Bera was released Thursday, seven weeks shy of his full sentence of one year and one day behind bars. He was given credit for good behavior, said Melinda Clark, a spokeswoman for the federal Bureau of Prisons.
Bera will have to check in with a probation officer for three years, Clark said.
Democratic U.S. Rep. Ami Bera of Elk Grove was not charged and has denied knowing of his father’s activities. Prosecutors say they don’t believe he was involved.
“It’s been a very tough year for me and my entire family and we are happy to have him home,” Bera said in a statement thanking those who sent his family well wishes.
The elder Bera acknowledged that he arranged for friends, relatives and acquaintances to contribute more than $225,000 to his son’s failed 2010 campaign for a House seat and then illegally reimbursed the donors.
He did it again with more than $43,000 for his son’s successful 2012 campaign, when Ami Bera defeated Republican Congressman Dan Lungren on the second try.
Investigators found more than 130 improper campaign contributions involving about 90 contributors, according to a plea agreement in the case. Campaign officials said they reimbursed the U.S. Treasury for the amount of the illegal donations, as required by law.
Next year’s race for suburban Sacramento’s 7th Congressional District is perennially one of the closest in the country, drawing heavy spending from both parties.