Tuesday, February 26, 2008

More trouble for the GOP

Just what the GOP needs...an accounting scandal is now rocking the National Republican Congressional Committee. And it was all so perfectly predictable, what with the lifting of the internal controls and all...

From 1999 to 2006 the NRCC was led by Virginia Rep. Tom Davis and New York Rep. Thomas Reynolds, and during that time the NRCC opted to waive the rule that the Executive Committee of the organization sign off on any expenditure in excess of $10,000 dollars. They also consolidated disparate department budgets and paid everything from one account, and repealed the prohibition on committee staff earning income from outside companies. On the one hand, this arrangement allowed rapid responses to be mounted in hotly contested campaigns. On the other, it created an atmosphere rife with temptations such as fraud and conflicts of interest.
But the actions also may have contributed to a perceived lack of oversight within the NRCC, especially over financial records, a failure that outside observers blame for an accounting scandal that could go much deeper than the allegedly forged audit a former treasurer sent to the committee’s principal lender in January. NRCC officials contacted the FBI soon after discovering that the former employee, Christopher J. Ward, had submitted what they believe to be a fake internal audit to Wachovia as part of a loan application by the committee.

House Republicans are still awaiting the completion of an outside audit of the committee, since at this time they are unsure of the scale or nature of the financial problems at the committee. Current NRCC Chairman Tom Cole (R-Okla.) has publicly stated that there were “accounting irregularities” at the committee that “may include fraud.”


Yes, I'm sure that is why Mr. Ward retained high-powered white-collar criminal defense attorney Ronald Machen to represent him during the FBI probe...

Since Cole took over, he has made some real, concrete and tangible changes, but the scandal is so far reaching that those changes amount to little more than rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. Those so inclined can read the whole sorry tale at the Politico.

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