Reidblog [The Reid Report blog]

Think at your own risk.
Friday, March 14, 2008
The great train robbery
More scandal in the GOP:
The former treasurer for the National Republican Congressional Committee diverted hundreds of thousands of dollars -- and possibly as much as $1 million -- of the organization's funds into his personal accounts, GOP officials said yesterday, describing an alleged scheme that could become one of the largest political frauds in recent history.

For at least four years, Christopher J. Ward, who is under investigation by the FBI, allegedly used wire transfers to funnel money out of NRCC coffers and into other political committee accounts he controlled as treasurer, NRCC leaders and lawyers said in their first public statement since they turned the matter over to the FBI six weeks ago.

"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.), the NRCC chairman.

The committee also announced that it has submitted to banks five years' worth of audits and financial documents allegedly faked by Ward, some of which were used to secure multimillion-dollar loans. It is a violation of federal laws to obtain loans through false statements; the crime is punishable by up to $1 million in fines and 30 years in prison.

Before yesterday, the committee, which raised $49 million in 2007, had not acknowledged that any money was missing. It announced on Feb. 1 that it had discovered "irregularities" that might involve fraud, dismissed Ward and called in federal investigators. ...

...The Washington Post reported Thursday that Ward had served as treasurer for 83 GOP committees this decade. In the past five years, the committees took in more than $400 million in contributions.
The forensic audit could take 6-8 weeks. According to the Times, the GOP is bracing for the loss figure to climb.

Oh, and did I mention Ward worked for the Swift Boat hacks? RawStory has more on that, and a compilation of other posts on the thievery.

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posted by JReid @ 4:46 PM  
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