From Congressional Quarterly:
The man at the center of a burgeoning fiscal scandal involving the National Republican Congressional Committee served as treasurer for dozens of political fundraising committees, and lawmakers are quickly distancing themselves from him.
At least 10 members of Congress have dropped Christopher J. Ward as treasurer of their re-election campaigns or political action committees.
In front, left to right: Rep. Peter King (R-NY) and Senator John Ensign (R-NV)
In back, left to right: Rep. Robert Goodlatte (R-VA), Rep. Phil English (R-PA), Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX), Rep. Vito Fossella (R-NY), and Rep. James T. Walsh (R-NY)
Original DVD cover.
That same dynamic could continue to play out in the weeks ahead. Ward served as treasurer for at least 32 committees in recent years. According to Federal Election Commission records, he remains an officer of record with most of them.
The FBI is investigating potential mismanagement of funds at the request of the NRCC. “We feel very strongly that until names are cleared or not, you can’t take a chance on it,” said Sen. John Ensign , R-Nev., who dropped Ward as treasurer of his Battle Born PAC.
Ward also was treasurer for Senate Majority Committee, a joint fundraising committee for six senators who are up for re-election this year.
Other GOP political committees that have severed ties with Ward:
• Montana Rep. Denny Rehberg ’s Building Our Opportunities Together committee;
• Pennsylvania Rep. Phil English ’s Prosperity Helps Inspire Liberty PAC;
• New York Rep. James T. Walsh ’s Commitment to Outstanding Leadership PAC;
• New York Rep. Peter T. King ’s Know-How and Integrity in our Government PAC;
• Virginia Rep. Robert W. Goodlatte ’s Good Fund;
• Texas Rep. Jeb Hensarling Jobs, Economy and Budget Fund;
• Puerto Rico Del. Luis Fortuño ’s Leading Us in Success PAC
• Committee to Re-Elect Vito J. Fossella of New York.
Ward had been a longtime staff member for the NRCC, going on the payroll in November 1995 and serving as treasurer off and on from May 2003. He was paid $95,255 last year as a staff member through July and then a strategic-planning consultant after Aug. 3.
On Feb. 1, Rep. Tom Cole , R-Okla., the chairman of the NRCC, announced “irregularities in our financial audit process” that prompted an FBI investigation.
Rep. K. Michael Conaway , R-Texas, who is an accountant, sparked the investigation after becoming head of the NRCC’s internal audit committee last fall. Conaway said he asked repeatedly for a meeting with auditors without staff, but Ward canceled a January meeting just before it was to begin.
Conaway discovered that no audits had been conducted for years. “He was a trusted employee, somebody we put our faith and trust in,” Conaway said. “All we know is we have an audit issue.”
He said the committee has given the FBI’s forensic accountants “unfettered access to everything we’ve got.”
The previous NRCC chairman, Rep. Thomas M. Reynolds of New York, said he thought audits were being performed on a regular basis.
“It now appears over an extended period of time a long-serving, professional staff member may have put together an elaborate scheme resulting in financial irregularities that are currently under review,” Reynolds said.
Ladies and gentlemen (and Raisinettes), meet the GOP, party of fiscal responsibility!