Will Senator Ron Johnson return $5,400 campaign contribution from man who allegedly “fleeced” U.S. troops?

The Democratic Party of Wisconsin has asked Republican Senator Ron Johnson to return a $5,400 contribution to his campaign from Gregoria Galicot, the President of BBC Communications. At issue is BBG’s involvement in charging American service members crazy high fees to make phone calls from Germany to their loved ones.Senator Ron Johnson is maintaining his silence on a call from Wisconsin veterans to return $5,400 in campaign donations from a California corporate executive who manipulated national and international law to charge American service members exorbitant rates for phone calls to their loved ones.

More than a week ago, a group of Wisconsin veterans sent Senator Johnson a letter asking for him to “show respect for the American men and women who serve” by returning a $5,400 campaign contribution from Gregorio Galicot, President of BBG Communications Inc. Galicot’s corporation racked up profits by “fleecing” U.S. troops making calls to loved ones from overseas charging up to $400 to make a single phone call.

For more background on the allegations Gregorio Galicot’s BBG Communications “fleeced” American service members, The Daily Beast a href=http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/03/06/two-companies-accused-of-fleecing-u-s-troops.html target=_blank>has a more detailed report.

During the past four years, roughly 800,000 members of the American military have passed through the airport in Leipzig, Germany—a popular refueling stop for soldiers going to and from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Members of the armed forces who want to call home can use a pay phone service in the airport’s secure military lounge. But those calls may have been costing the service members dearly: according to a recent class-action lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Waco, Texas, the Switzerland-based company that runs the pay phone service—and its sister firm in California—have been “rigg[ing]” the phones to sometimes charge more than $40 for a call lasting mere seconds.

The two companies—BBG Global AG and BBG Communications Inc.—are owned, according to the lawsuit, by trusts belonging to the families of Rafael and Gregorio Galicot. The two, who are American citizens, are the sons of José Galicot, a prominent Mexican businessman and philanthropist known to some as the “godfather of Tijuana.” For years, the elder Galicot has been a relentless champion for the Mexican border city, touting its industries and culture and trying to help Tijuana shed its reputation for drug-related violence. In the fall of 2010, Galicot—who reportedly splits his time between Mexico and California —organized Tijuana Innovadora, a $5 million celebration; speakers included Mexican President Felipe Calderón, Al Gore, Larry King, and Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim.


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