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Report: Manchester lost nomination after emails

Posted at 4:44 PM, Nov 18, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-18 21:13:08-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) San Diego real estate icon Doug Manchester lost his nomination to be the ambassador to the Bahamas after a series of emails that may have implied pay for play proposition, according to a new report.

The report, from CBS News, uncovered an email exchange between Manchester and Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel.

The exchange came just days after Manchester returned from a humanitarian trip to the Bahamas to provide post Hurricane Dorian aid.

President Trump nominated Manchester to the ambassadorship in 2017.

RELATED: White House withdraws Doug Manchester ambassador nomination

Upon Manchester's return from the Bahamas in September 2019, Trump tweeted a thank you to Manchester and called him "hopefully the next ambassador to the Bahamas."

Three days later, CBS News reports that McDaniel emailed Manchester asking for a $500,000 contribution.

Manchester replied that he could not make a contribution now because of his nomination, but noted his wife had just made a large contribution.

"As you know I am not supposed to do any, but my wife is sending a contribution for $100,000," said the email, obtained by CBS News. "Assuming I get voted out of the [Foreign Relations Committee] on Wednesday to the floor we need you to have the majority leader bring it to a majority vote … Once confirmed, I our [sic] family will respond!"

RELATED: San Diego businessman Doug Manchester flies aid to the Bahamas

Manchester copied Sens. Rand Paul and Jim Risch, the latter the head of the committee. His staff contacted the White House with concerns, leading to the nomination being withdrawn, according to CBS News.

Stephanie Brown, a spokeswoman for Manchester, said there was absolutely no pay-to-play. She said Manchester sought legal opinions, which concluded he did nothing wrong.

Brown said Manchester withdrew the nomination after an arson attack on his family in April.

It is common for political donors to receive ambassadorships. In fact, Manchester contributed $1 million to Trump's inaugural committee.

Political analyst John Dadian noted, however, that the contributions cannot be made with anything in return expected.

"The first part of his quote should have stopped there: 'I cannot contribute because I'm here,'" Dadian said. "The minute he says after the fact, then there's a problem."

Manchester told CBS News that his email was not a pay for play offer. He told the network getting confirmed is a politcal process with numerous steps, and that his wife made the $100,000 contribution because she loves President Trump.

The R.N.C also told CBS News it was not seeking money to speed up Manchester's nomination, and took aim at Manchester for tying the two together.

A spokeswoman for the Federal Election Commission said the agency cannot comment on pending or potential enforcement matters.