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March 14, 2008

NRCC says ex-treasurer stole up to $1 million

The National Republican Campaign Committee (NRCC) has admitted that its former treasurer stole up to $1 million.

The ex-treasurer, Christopher Ward, may also have forged documents to secure multi-million dollar loans. He also appears to have overstated the NRCC's cash on hand by $990,000 in 2006.

The NRCC books are a shambles, and at least some of its internal audits are now known to have be forged by Ward.

During his tenure, Ward was responsible for certifying nearly all of the NRCC's campaign finance reports to the Federal Elections Commission. Understandably, some his former PACs are now aunching their own audits.

The FBI is investigating. The Christopher Ward case may turn out to be one of the biggest campaign fraud scandals in US history. We tend to think of campaign finance as a cesspool, and it is, but large thefts of campaign money are surprisingly rare. Maybe it's not that surprising, given how easy it is for insiders to simply give money to themselves, their spouses, their contributors' businesses, and friendly people congregating in churchyards on election day. The biggest outright embezzlement of campaign funds on record is only about a million bucks, according to the WaPo. So, Ward is poised to make history.

Ward allegedly used wire transfers to channel funds from the NRCC's coffers through various PACs under his control, waited 'til no one was looking, and pocketed the money, or sent it to companies he controlled.

By the time Ward's deceptions came to light, the NRCC had not met with outside auditors in nearly five years.

[NRCC lawyer] Kelner said the NRCC had not met with its outside auditors for nearly five years, describing that as unusual. Rep. Greg Walden (Ore.), who previously served as chairman of the NRCC's audit committee, said he had asked to meet with the outside auditing firm, Deloitte & Touche, and that the fake audits were almost perfect forgeries.

"I sought for several years to meet with the outside auditors," Walden said. "There was always some seemingly legitimate reason why that didn't happen." The scheme began to unravel this year, when Rep. K. Michael Conaway (Tex.), the new head of the audit committee, insisted on meeting the auditors.

The magnitude of the alleged fraud staggered Republicans, who are bracing for the final accounting from the forensic audit in six to eight weeks. Many said they expect a total far greater than the minimum cited yesterday
[WaPo]

As mentioned above, NRCC internal audits were forged (presumably by Ward, who was in charge of auditing himself)--which might explain why the NRCC hadn't allowed a proper external audit in 5 years.

NRCC officials assure the public that Ward ACTED ALONE and that NOBODY ELSE WAS AWARE of anything bad that he might have been doing.

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Comments

Yeah, but there's no evidence that he hired prostitutes with the money, so what's the fuss?

C'mon y'all hate the "Rethugs"

You should be happy he did this!

Always bears repeating: Never trust Republicans with your children or your money.

I don't trust Dems with my children or my money either! They are no better.

Never trust any politician who ever lived with your children or your money.

I wouldn't go that far Phantom. There are good ones out there. Don't be so cynical! ;)

Why would I let a politician live with my children?

Anyway, I wonder what he spent the money on. There was a story last fall about a treasurer that lost a bunch of a town's money by gambling or maybe Nigerian scams.

b-Money

OK. 90% of them then. For most, the talk of wanting to serve is complete bullshit. Its the will to power-period, end of story.

I'm really unhappy about the recent revelations on Obama's racist pastor, whose church Obama and his wife attended for 20 years. I wasn't ever going to vote for the guy--everyone here knows that!--but I really was intrigued by his story, and the hope that he brought about, especially but not only in the black community.

But I think the tapes that have come out will just destroy Obama in Pennsylvania, and beyond. He sat in the pew for 20 years listening to a this Christian version of a Farrakhan, and never had boo to say about anything the pastor said.

The feel-good Obama message is no more. If he's the Democratic nominee, he will be ripped apart over this and anything else that comes out-and there will be more. The blank slate ain't so blank anymore, and the first marks are very ugly.

Take it from an opponent guys--your only chance of winning the Presidential Election is to get to love Hillary really, really fast.

If the views of his pastor destroy him that is terrible. I am a Catholic and I do not agree with EVERYTHING the Catholic Church preaches. But I have faith and morals and ideas that the Church has aided in establishing in me. Just because the Church is whacked out in some of its views does not mean I, or any Catholic, should be grouped with them. Individualism is a part of life and religion. Do not group Obama with this fucking nut job just because he is a member of his congregation.

But I digress because this is not about Obama...

This is a personal relationship of 20 years duration with a stone racist, b-Money.

The Phantom -

If you're implying that Barack Obama is racist against white people:

Obama was raised by his white mother and white grandparents.

So what Phantom. I am a Catholic of 30 years. Does that make me a pedophile?

Come on man, think on it with a little less partisanship. I know you are hardcore conservative, but this is a non-issue in my book. If you want to throw stones, question Obama's Tony Resko relationship, or his policy positions. But to condemn a guy for his PASTOR's viewpoints...when he has a WHITE mother??? Not buying it...

>This is a personal relationship of 20 years duration with a stone racist, b-Money.

This shit from "Fuck Them Ragheads" Phantom. Guy really does your work for you.

>I know you are hardcore conservative

No, no -- just try "bigoted thinker" and his whole way of approaching issues makes way more sense.

Eric

I know all about the man's story, what has been public, anyway. Again, he sat through this man's racist sermons for twenty years, and didn't say boo. There are only two plausible rasons for this:

a) he wasn't a strong enough person to confront the guy or

b he agreed with Wright

Black racism is a real phenonmenon, and some of its strongest practitioners are of mixed race. Malcolm X, who was of mixed ancestry, absolutely fell under the racist spell of Elijah Muhammad, and he believed and actively preached that whites were devils. He had a fundamental change later in his life, which could have been why he was assassinated.

Its not impossible that smooth as silk Barack has been influenced by the anti-white beliefs of his pastor, who all concur has influenced him in so many other ways.

--I am a Catholic of 30 years. Does that make me a pedophile?--

If your priest angrily promoted NAMBLA-ism from the pulpit, and you sat there, like Obama, without saying anything, yes then you most certainly should be severely criticized.

You won't believe me, but I'm not looking at this with my partisan hat on. I was never going to vote Obama --a largely blank slate, grinning as Jimmy Carter did when he was running, saying that he will be nice --but I was genuinely intrigued by his personal story. I posted the Black Eyed Peas song on my blog, with a friendly reference to the hope and reaction that he was generating.

There are things about this guy that do not compute. The deep friendship with the racist preacher is one of them. The relationship with unrepentant domestic terrorist William Ayers is another. Some things said by his wife is another.

You can't really go to what Obama himself says, because he doesn't say a great deal! He smiles the "Audacity of Hope" smile, and evades tough questions.

He's toast. Maybe instead of re-doing the Florida and Michigan primaries, you should re-do all of them. Because you've got two very tainted candidates now, each who will a dog in the manger if the other gets the nomination.


B-Money

I know everyone else's mind is made up, but this is for you, from the Irish site A Tangled Web and a comment near the end of the thread by Henry94, a churchgoing, Catholic, left-of-center contributor in Ireland.

They watch US politics very, very closely over there. There was almost unanimous support for Obama there --until now. People there are astounded at this news.

It may help Obama if they find nothing else of interest. But if they do it will hard to believe Obama happened to be missing on every occasion.

I go to Mass every week and about once a year we get a new Priest. We can usually work out fairly quickly where he stands on the big issues facing the Church.

In the case of evangelical Churches like Obama's there is no HQ sending Ministers. Rather the people find a preacher that suits them. I find it hard o believe that a political man like Obama could be in his own words "led to Christ" and have a twenty year relationship, spiritual personal and financial with Rev Wright and be unaware of his political opinions.

Shouldn't a potential President know what's going on around him?

What exactly happens to Republicans who rip off their own people for millions? They get a House seat or something, don't they? And a cake?

C'mon y'all hate the "Rethugs" You should be happy he did this!

I just wish the guy had managed to flush more than a paltry million of the Tory party’s bucks down the crapper.


Now, about the national hyperventilating over the very, very, very scary, scary, scary Rev. Jeremiah Wright Jr. (Who probably wouldn’t be so very scary if it weren’t such a slow news week on the campaign front.)

First, I’m glad and astonished to have lived to see an African American seriously close to nomination for candidate for presidential election by one of the two major parties. And one who, in Obama’s case, is not a totally obsequious Uncle Tom in the mold of Clarence Thomas and other black conservative Oreos! Second, I’d love to live to see the day (and this is a truly hopeless wish in America) when a political candidate of any kind, anywhere - county roads commissioner of Cowpie County, Montana- can say he or she has no use for magic spirits in the sky and still have a real chance of winning an election.

So far, all I’ve seen about the Right Reverend Wright is what’s been on Fox News and I think we can safely assume that Fox will show the worst of whatever is currently available on Wright. Judging from what Fox has got, Wright appears more clown than genuine threat.

Unpacking the worst first, we’ve got the implication that the US government had something to do with the HIV epidemic. Specifically: “The government lied about inventing the HIV virus as a means of genocide against people of color. The government lied.” Jaw-dropping stupidity to be sure, capable of being uttered only by someone completely ignorant of HIV’s biology and epidemiology, and one of the most useless and pernicious urban legends circulating among the African American community. Oddly, Fox goes nowhere with this. Do they figure that their viewers are incapable of understanding why this notion is nonsense? Too complicated to explain? Perhaps they remember that their cherished hero, the Sacred and Most Holy Saint Ronnie, couldn’t bring himself to mention the word AIDS until one of his old Hollywood pals dropped dead of it.

Then we’ve got the suggestion that the United States bears some responsibility for the 9/11 attacks.

We bombed Hiroshima. We bombed Nagasaki. And we nuked far more than the thousands in New York and the Pentagon and we never batted an eye,” Wright said.

“We have supported state terrorism against the Palestinians and black South Africans, and now we are indignant because of stuff we have done overseas is now brought back into our own backyard. America is chickens coming home to roost.

This can be parsed several ways. Fox seems to imply that Wright thinks that the U.S. bears full responsibility and that the attacks were therefore justified with America getting what it rightfully deserves. One could note that the attacks were against the most conspicuous and powerful western nation, and not say; Belgium, and that they were the most virulent manifestation of the resentments and grievances that millions of Muslims have with the West, many of which are legitimate. Regardless, for instance, of what one thinks of the Iranian revolution and its consequences, there can be no doubt that many people suffered under the Shah and it is not unnatural that those who did suffer should resent the people who backed the Shah, most conspicuous of whom was the United States. Pile up enough resentment and you’ll get fanatics willing to die to answer that resentment. Fox isn’t about to go into any subtle distinctions. They didn’t ask any of Wright’s parishioners what exactly they make of Wright’s 9/11 remarks. Fox news simply declares that the Rev. Wright apparently “hates America” as apparently do all his obviously black parishioners including his most famous one. (Did we mention that he’s black too?)

Much of the world does not regard Hiroshima (and Dresden, Hamburg, Tokyo, and carpet bombing in general), apartheid, the six-day war and its aftermath, etc., with the same happy perspective Fox does.

Fox follows with this:

In a fiery sermon in April 2003, Wright said: “The government gives them the drugs, builds bigger prisons, passes three-strike laws and wants them to sing God Bless America. “No! No No! “God damn America … for killing innocent people. “God damn America for threatening citizens as less than humans. “God damn America as long as she tries to act like she is God and supreme.”
I fail to see how this is any worse than any number of Republican vetted clerics ranting about how America should expect God’s righteous wrath for all the fornication and faggotry we’ve so wantonly indulged in lately. In any case, to this atheist “God damn America” is just as meaningless as “God bless America”.

I thought it was interesting that Fox included this:

“Barack knows what it means living in a country and a culture that is controlled by rich white people,” Wright said. “Hillary would never know that.
“Hillary ain’t never been called a nigger. Hillary has never had a people defined as a non-person.”

I suspect that the Fox “fair and balanced” folks especially don’t care much for the “country and a culture that is controlled by rich white people” bit. They’ve convinced themselves that political correctness, affirmative action, populist economic nonsense, and -let’s just call a spade a spade here-, the voting rights act, has made rich, white people a brutally oppressed underclass.

What should Obama do about Rev. Wright? Mostly ignore the whole thing. It’s a tempest in a Fox News teacup.

"What drives me crazy is how this could have been avoided so easily if Wright was the slightest bit media-savvy. Had he merely controlled his tongue and limited himself to advocating an attack on Iran to encourage massive worldwide Muslim attacks leading to a fulfillment of the biblical prophecy of end-times and bringing about Armageddon and the summary slaughter of every Jew, Muslim, Catholic, and non-believer on the planet while rapturing him and his flock up to heaven, then followed it up by denouncing Catholics as cult members and blaming Hurricane Katrina on gay people, this story wouldn't be metastasizing like this. One five minute milquetoast repudiation by Obama and it would all be behind him.
"But what does Wright do instead? He spews this vile 'God damn America' bile. What a psycho."

(http://talkingpointsmemo.com/archives/183597.php)

cfrost

Fox ( and ABC News ) has done some superb journalism here. The rest should be ashamed of themselves- this story has been sitting around for a while since Fox broke it a year ago. All any of the rest of them had to do was to get up off their ass and attend a sermon, or to order one of the Pastor's tapes, and they might have nailed it.

Obama is a cipher with a very short history. If you want to know about him, you can listen to the few meaningful words that he says, or you can see who his friends are. Among his friends are William Ayers and Jeremiah Wright.

Case closed. No "hope" there I'm afraid.

Phantom,
What do you think about John Hagee's close connection with John McCain?

I think that John Hagee is a pig and a monster who should be denounced unconditionally. I think that McCain should be asked sharp questions about Hagee, and should denounce Magee and renounce the endorsement

He's not McCain's personal pastor, and McCain has not sat at his feet for 20 years. But fair's fair, and McCain needs to be put on the hot seat on this one.

And massive props to the Catholic League for keeping the heat up on this one.

Phantom, no doubt Wright is a shitbag. But look at all the right wing evangelists the RNC receieved support from and supported for years! None more fucking whacked than Jerry Falwell! What about Bob Jones University? A RNC supported racist institution. Wright is entitled to spew venom. But it is his opinion. Just because people chose to worship at his church and express their love of God and Jesus in no way makes them guilty of anything. Obama had no duty to confront Wright.

Also, I do not disagree with some of the things attirbuted to Wright in the link you gave me. Some of the things he said were just plain wrong and merely inflammatory. But he is a preacher, that's what they do.

I also disagree with you that Obama is an empty shell with no platform or policy based ideas. The one I am a big fan of is his plan to sink $60 billion a year for ten years into the country's infrastructure. Railroads, roads, bridges, old dead plants in the rust belt, etc. Anyone that has read my posts here knows I have been preching the same thing! It needs to be addressed and he is laying out a plan to address the problem.

I refuse to let the right wing smear artists attack Obama for a relationship of faith. Racism is alive and well in this country but I hate it when white folks like you Phantom express outrage over black people, or brown people, feeling a little pissed off from time to time and venting about it. I think they (we) are entitled. Be brown or black sometime and let me know how you would feel. Oops, it won't happen so you'll never know. So ease up on the rhetoric.

B-Money

Everyone has the right to say nearly anything that they wish. This country is home to both the American Nazi Party, the Black Muslims, so the fact that the guy had a right to say what he did is irrelevant, counselor.

I never said that Obama is "guilty" of anything, other than a probable moral cowardice.

I don't think that's what preachers do. I went to Catholic Mass for years, before I retired from religion, and I never heard any racist remarks. I've attended Protestant and Jewish services, and have never heard bigoted remarks from the pulpit.

Obama's remarks about rebuilding roads with $60 billion a year is laughable. I want to build/rebuild --especially mass transit--but $60 billion is so small a number for a country this big, it is not even the beginning of a beginning.

I'll call 'em like I see 'em, pal with neither fear nor favor. No one gets a pass, no matter what group or identity they think they're a part of.

If McCain had been to a KKK Church for twenty years, everyone here would be hopping up, besides themselves with outrage--myself included. Now, when its clear that Obama went to a KKK Church equivalent --a lot of people are cool with that. Because, after all, people need to vent!!

You are typing a lot of words but saying nothing new. I do not even address the racism factor, which you brought up.

So because Falwell and his ilk do not say their racist thoughts in a speech or sermon means they are ok to follow? How about the Pope who as a Cardinal helped ocver up the widespread pedophelia in the Church? Are we all moral cowards for continuing to be Catholics?

As for Obama's plan, at least it's a start and he is talking about it and trying do something. You mock, but offer no new solutions.

The underlying point here is you do not like Obama so you are trying to skewer him. We ALL have friends or know people who say ludicrous, inappropiate things. Should we be slammed as well for remaing friends with them? Am I am "moral coward" for not telling my best friend he may be a bit of a sexist? Am I now a sexist because he is because we are friends? What about gay friends? I doubt you have any, but I do. Many. My best man and son's godfather is gay. If I run for office will you and other Repubs call me gay or queer lover? Probably based on your logic here. Sad and misguided.

Sorry , in first paragraph, that should say "YOU do not even address..."

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