A former government official who helped steer State Department contracts to then-Secretary of State John Kerry’s daughter may face prosecution for an illegal lobbying charge, according to court proceedings Thursday.
Warren “Buck” Buckingham, a former senior Peace Corps official, was charged with lobbying his previous government colleagues after he moved into the private sector from around August 2015 through around September 2015. (EXCLUSIVE: John Kerry’s State Department Funneled MILLIONS To His Daughter’s Nonprofit)
Prosecutors agreed to dismiss the case in one year after he paid a $10,000 criminal penalty and if he “demonstrates good conduct and cooperate[s] with the government,” court documents show. The documents do not disclose in what way Buckingham must cooperate.
“In light of the conduct and the history of the defendant … it seemed appropriate,” Assistant U.S. Attorney John P. Marston said in court.
He referred a Daily Caller News Foundation reporter to a spokesman who did not immediately reply to a request for comment.
Buckingham’s lawyer, Danny Onorato, said in court that his client’s case was an “unusual circumstance,” but did not explain further.
The charge carries a maximum sentence of up to one year in prison, since the case was filed as a misdemeanor. A felony charge for illegal lobbying would have carried a prison sentence of up to five years.
The charging document didn’t disclose how Buckingham violated the lobbying law, but the Peace Corps awarded a $6.4 million contract extension to the nonprofit he was working for during the period the charge covered.
“I think the documents speak for themselves,” Onorato told TheDCNF when asked if the charge against Buckingham was related to the contract extension.
Seed Global Health – a nonprofit founded and run by then-Secretary of State John Kerry’s daughter, Dr. Vanessa Kerry – hired Buckingham around September 2015, a previous Daily Caller News Foundation investigation revealed. The Peace Corps gave Seed the State Department-funded contract extension without competition the same month.
Buckingham, while with the Peace Corps, was also a key player in a scheme that brought Kerry’s nonprofit the original $2 million, State Department-funded contract in 2012, which was similarly awarded without competition, TheDCNF has reported.
“Buck obtained clarity of the mechanism by which federal money will be provided to” Seed, minutes from a 2011 meeting said. “The process can be fast tracked and non-competed through a specific grant mechanism.”
The State Department ultimately funneled more than $9 million to Seed through the Peace Corps, even as the nonprofit failed to hit its contractual requirements, a previous DCNF investigative series detailed.
Buckingham retired from the Peace Corps soon after while under an inspector general investigation for improperly hiring an employee and then sending the official lewd emails, a previous DCNF report found.
Buckingham also authorized the Peace Corps to pay for Kerry and her staff to fly domestically and internationally while forming the agency program that would eventually form the basis for its contracts with Seed.
In addition to Buckingham, Director Aaron Williams and former Associate Director Esther Benjamin both joined Seed, but on the organization’s board of trustees, TheDCNF previously reported.
John Kerry did not play a role in bringing the State Department money to his daughter’s nonprofit, according to the agency, but TheDCNF found that Seed was founded in his Boston home.
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