Thursday, March 13, 2008

Will Democratic Spitzer's Tawdry Sex Smash Republican Ward's Sleazy Embezzlement?

While the crusading Democratic Governor of New York purchased high dollar sex, the most trusted financial man in Republican fundraising made off with as much as $1 million. The Treasurer of the National Republican Congressional Committee, Chris Ward faked external financial audits for the last five years. Yet, this aroused no suspicion amongst Executive Committee member responsible for governance.

While people serving on other nonprofit boards were interviewed by members of the audit team post Sarbanes-Oxley, NRCC Executive Committee members skated. While other 527 boards heard partners from the audit firm present their audited financial statements and the management letter, NRCC governance got impressive looking "accurate balance sheets" from their Treasurer. They now know they weren't accurate. The man who outed Ward, Rep. Mike Conaway-R-TX, said this on CNN this afternoon:

CONAWAY: The last one (audit) that we're comfortable saying we had was in 2001. And that anything was given to the bank subsequent to that and anything shown to the management team in the audit -- interim audit committees -- were, in fact, you know, bogus financial statements.

TODD: Statements that Conaway says looked very sophisticated, which may explain why Ward's alleged fraud wasn't noticed for years.

Sophisticated statements? Bull hockey! It took a CPA one full year to find the hoax. Other leaders, including Tom Cole R-OK, Tom Davis-R-VA, and Eric Cantor-R-VA, bear responsibility for both management and governance failures in regard to this "one man scheme." But Republicans have more nooks and crannies to explore for Chris Ward's financial malfeasance. He served as Treasurer for more than 80 Republican fundraising committees. Some $390 million made its way through Chris Ward supported political committees.

We are witnessing a failure of leadership in the worst way. First, the board missed numerous red flags. Second, they now spin it in any direction away from them. This is part and parcel to America's current crisis in leadership