Steve Hildebrand, founding partner of the Democratic consulting firm Hildebrand Tewes and key adviser to Sen. Barack Obama’s (D-Ill.) presidential campaign, confirmed Thursday that Chad Schuldt was fired from his firm for allegedly embezzling “over $100,000.”
According to Hildebrand, Schuldt — a Democratic political operative and Hildebrand’s longtime deputy — stole funds that were intended for the Internal Revenue Service to cover Hildebrand Tewes’ payroll taxes. Hildebrand said the theft was discovered three weeks ago.
“He took money from our firm instead of paying the IRS the taxes it was due,” Hildebrand said in a brief telephone interview Thursday afternoon.
Hildebrand declined to specify how much money was embezzled, citing an ongoing investigation. He said some of the firm’s clients have asked questions about the matter but that they have been very supportive upon hearing the explanation.
The incident, Hildebrand said, “has not interrupted any relationships in any way.”
Hildebrand, a native of South Dakota, previously advised Sen. Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) and also is close to Sen. Tim Johnson (D-S.D.). Hildebrand Tewes has offices in Washington, D.C., and South Dakota, and the firm has a wide range of clients, from candidates to interest groups.
Hildebrand is one of Obama’s top political advisers. His partner, Paul Tewes, is running the Illinois Senator’s Iowa campaign operation.
– David M. Drucker