GOP says fraud may have cost groups $750,000

Friday, June 13th 2008, 8:57 am
By: News 9

Associated Press

WASHINGTON -- Investigators for a Republican Party committee say a former treasurer stole at least $725,000 from the group that runs House Republican campaigns.

An internal probe alleged that between 2001 and 2007, former treasurer Christopher Ward used his authority to order wire transfers to siphon money that was meant for the National Republican Campaign Committee, which Oklahoma Congressman Tom Cole chairs.

Lawyer Robert Kelner says Ward also appears to have taken at least $28,000 from the committee in charge of Senate Republican campaigns.

Kelner alleges that the 39-year-old Ward submitted five years' worth of false financial audits for the NRCC, keeping others in the dark about his activities.

The Washington Post reported last week that Ward allegedly used money from the scheme to pay for renovations and mortgage bills for his home in Bethesda, Maryland.

Ward's attorney declined comment on the investigation's findings.

Cole says the committe was dealt a bad hand and officials handled it as best they could.