House Republicans announced yesterday that their former campaign treasurer pocketed more than $800,000 in party funds over the last seven years. It seems that Christopher Ward, a 12-year veteran of the National Republican Congressional Committee, used the cash to make mortgage payments and remodel his home. Not a bad deal, except that he got caught. And now Republican leaders are left with the unenviable task of explaining why voters should grant them the responsibility of managing the nation’s books when they can’t even keep track of their own.
To their disadvantage, the investigation is far from over. From today’s Washington Post:
But Republicans acknowledged that their internal audit may not have reflected the totality of the embezzlement, because NRCC bank records went back only to 2001 and because auditors lacked access to Ward’s personal bank accounts, which the FBI has been reviewing. They said the overall amount of money taken could be far greater than their current estimate.
"We’ll never know the full extent," Rep. Tom Cole (Okla.), the NRCC chairman, told reporters.
This promises to be a story that keeps on giving.