The former treasurer of the National Republican Congressional Committee pleaded guilty Friday to embezzling $845,000 from GOP campaign committees over a seven-year period, during which he transferred cash from campaign accounts he controlled to his own bank account.
In a statement of offense filed Friday, Christopher J. Ward acknowledged that from 2001 to 2007, as treasurer of the NRCC and the committees created to run the annual President’s Dinner fundraiser, he “stole approximately $844,718 by issuing unauthorized checks and wire transfers from the NRCC and political committee that were clients of his business” for his personal benefit.
The government said Ward “caused to be issued numerous payments from the NRCC to bank accounts for the annual President’s Dinner Committees, which he controlled, and subsequently transferred the same funds to his own bank accounts.” He officially pleaded guilty to one count of interstate transportation of stolen money.
Ward also falsified NRCC reports to the Federal Election Commission; the NRCC has already agreed to pay a $10,000 fine for the false reports.
The statement of offense lists 18 committees that Ward stole money from, including $672,587 from the NRCC, $28,425 from the campaign of former Rep. Jerry Weller of Illinois and $41,000 from the leadership political action committee of former Puerto Rico Del. Luis Fortuno, all of which Ward has apparently agreed to pay back.
In a July agreement letter, U.S. Attorney Rod Rosenstein indicated to Ward’s lawyers that Ward may face a sentence of up to three years in jail and pay a fine of up to $75,000, as well as forfeit his house.
In August, Ward signed a document accepting those conditions.