Corruption: Yer Doin’ It Wrong

March 13th, 2008at 09:34pm Posted by Eli

This is one of my favorite stories of the whole year:

The former treasurer for the National Republican Congressional Committee transferred as much as $1 million in committee funds into his personal and business accounts, officials announced today, describing a scheme that could prove to be one of the largest campaign frauds in recent history.

For at least four years, Christopher J. Ward, who is under investigation by the FBI, used wire transfers to funnel money out of the NRCC and into other political committees he controlled, then shifted the funds into his own personal accounts, the committee said.

“The evidence we have today indicated we have been deceived and betrayed for a number of years by a highly respected and trusted individual,” said Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.), NRCC chairman.

The committee also announced that it had submitted to banks five years of audits and financial documents allegedly forged by Ward, some of which were used to secure multimillion-dollar loans. It is a violation of federal bank fraud laws to obtain loans through false statements; such crimes are punishable by up to $1 million in fines and 30 years in prison.

(…)

Kelner said that Ward had the sole power at the NRCC to use wire transfers to shift money into any accounts he wanted. “He was able to get a wire transfer without getting a second sign-off,” Kelner said.

After allegedly transferring the NRCC money into accounts he controlled, Ward would move it from those GOP committees into either his political consulting business or his personal bank accounts, Kelner said.

(…)

The NRCC, which has been trailing badly its Democratic counterpart in the pursuit of campaign cash, had less than $5.7 million cash on hand Jan. 31, rather than the initial reported total of more than $6.4 million.

The Post reported today that Ward has served as treasurer for 83 committees that raised more than $400 million this decade. The NRCC investigation has sparked widespread jitters among GOP lawmakers on Capitol Hill.

(…)

In an election year that holds dismal prospects for congressional Republicans, possible financial problems at the cash-strapped NRCC are the last thing the GOP needed.

“The House Republican brand is so bad right now that if it were a dog food, they’d take it off the shelf,” said retiring Rep. Thomas M. Davis III (Va.), who chaired the NRCC for four years earlier this decade.

See, you Republicans are supposed to steal from American taxpayers and shareholders, not each other. Now you get a teeny little taste of what it’s like to be Grandma Millie, and I couldn’t be more tickled.

(h/t Peterr)

Entry Filed under: Corruption/Cronyism,Republicans


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