A Maryland real estate developer faces a $55,000 fine from the Federal Election Commission (FEC) after an investigation by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) found evidence that he was involved in a conduit contribution scheme.

CREW filed a complaint with the FEC against developer Edward St. John in 2009.

St. John had six of his employees make political contributions to the Maryland Republican State Central Committee and then reimbursed them using money from his company. The so-called "conduit contributions" are used to bypass individual contribution limits.

He tried to hide the reimbursements as "year-end bonuses."

St. John previously paid over $100,000 in penalties to settle allegations that he made illegal "conduit contributions" to several Maryland state candidates.

"When you combine this latest win with the $170,000 fine the FEC slapped against the Republican Party of Minnesota earlier this month, that adds up to almost a quarter of a million dollars in fines handed out in August as a result of CREW actions," the group said in a blog post. "Who says August is quiet?"