Gold Standard Gate, an Update

Golly, I just remembered that people besides Eliot Spitzer are facing political troubles–the WaPo has a story that slightly advances the NRCC story, including the CYA that the Republicans considered Christopher Ward, the treasurer at the center of the scandal, the "gold standard" in campaign finance compliance.

In the tiny world of people who keep the books for Washington’s multitude of political committees, Christopher J. Ward was considered the Republican "gold standard," in the words of a former co-worker — one of the few people with so much expertise in election law that everyone wanted Ward’s services.

From a legal standpoint, I’m most interested in the detail that Ward’s submission of one of the audits he forged to Wachovia caused the NRCC to be concerned.

Officials told The Post that the NRCC’s problems may be more extensive. Republican lawmakers and former committee staff members now allege that Ward fabricated audits and other financial documents for 2003 to 2006, some of which were turned over to a Wachovia Bank branch in McLean in October 2006, when the NRCC borrowed $8 million in last-minute money for congressional campaigns.

This act would get the NRCC into legal trouble for fraud. Quick quiz: Can you think of any other Republican who acquired a million-dollar loan through fraudulent representations? Given that the "Straight Talk for Lobbyists" is willing to make deliberate misrepresentations to get loans for his campaign, I can see no reason to assume the even more corrupt Republicans weren’t doing the same.

Other than that, the story features the now-requisite efforts on the part of Peter King to paint himself as a victim in this scandal, claiming he got bilked into keeping the PAC open through 2007 after he believed it had closed in 2006.

"We were told he was the guy that handled all the campaign committees, he was the best," said Rep. Peter T. King (N.Y.).

But King said in an interview that he has discovered that Ward paid himself $6,000 in consulting fees from King’s political action committee in 2007 — though King believed that he had shuttered the committee early last year. Upon learning of the NRCC investigation, King said he found that his PAC remained open all of last year. Ward paid himself the fees from King’s PAC, which received just three contributions and dispensed one check in 2007, FEC records show.

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