Many of the companies that made donations to local candidates had ties to Jacksonville attorney Kelly Mathis, who investigators claim was the driving force in the Allied Veterans scheme. Mathis and his law firm gave more than $5,300 to local races. In an interview, Mathis said he didn't direct the affiliates on how to make their donations.
"That was their decision," Mathis said. "I gave them legal advice."
Some candidates who received the donations from the gambling affiliates didn't keep them, skeptical of why they received the money.
Associated Press correspondent Tamara Lush in St. Petersburg, Fla., contributed to this report.
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