Friday, July 25, 2008

NRCC's Loss Improves CFO's Curb Appeal

The National Republican Congressional Committee lost $500,000 to sticky fingers within the organization. Ex-CFO Chris Ward diverted funds from the NRCC to the President's Dinner Committee to his personal bank account. A Washington Times piece said:

"According to NRCC, there was no apparent legitimate reason for the numerous large withdrawals or transfers of funds from the yearly President's Dinner Committee Wachovia accounts to accounts held by Ward," states a court document signed by U.S. Attorney Jeffrey A. Taylor and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Diane G. Lucas and William R. Cowden.

How did Rep. Mike Conaway, a certified public accountant, miss this red flag? How did NRCC internal controls allow numerous large withdrawals or fund transfers for "no apparent legitimate reason"? How many occurred in 2007, the year hero Mike was appointed as Chair of the Audit Committee?

From his personal account, Chris went shopping. The article reported on the many uses of contributor's money.

From 2003 to last year, Mr. Ward made more than a half-million dollars in unauthorized withdrawals from the Republican accounts.

According to the U.S. Attorney's Office, more than $150,000 went to pay "design/remodeling and landscaping companies," with payments closely preceded by deposits from the yearly President's Dinner Committee account to Mr. Ward's own bank account. Prosecutors said some of the money also went to pay for cabinetry and counter top work.

Authorities are also investigating whether NRCC funds were used by Mr. Ward to make mortgage payments totaling up to $72,000, according to the federal complaint.

Federal authorities are seeking to claim Mr. Ward's Bethesda, Maryland home. It looks like the usual free pass for NRCC Board members. Their incompetence allowed a five year siphoning of cash from the accounts of the nonprofit organization. Recall, these are the people who run our country!