A Republican fundraiser pleaded guilty to wire fraud and elections violations Thursday, allegedly using more than $1 million in PAC donations for personal expenses including escort services.
H. Russell Taub, an ex-congressional candidate from Rhode Island, appeared in U.S. District Court to face charges related to defrauding political donors of nearly $1.6 million, according to the Associated Press. Taub pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud and one count of willfully violating the Federal Election Campaign Act for running phony political action committees and misusing funds.
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Taub raised money for two PACs he claimed were legitimate, one called Keeping America in Republican Control (KAIRC), and the other Keeping Ohio in Republican Control (KOIRC). Not only had Taub never filed disclosure paperwork with the Federal Election Commission (FEC), he never registered either committee. Taub collected 166 donations totaling nearly $1.6 million. (RELATED: 80-Year-Old Man Raises $250K For Bernie And Beto. Buys Mercedes Instead)
Court papers allege Taub converted nearly $1 million dollars for personal use, transferring $715,000 directly into his personal accounts, withdrawing $100,000 in cash and using $217,000 to pay for inappropriate expenses including “international and domestic air travel, hotels, restaurants, clothing, cigars, adult entertainment, and escort services.”
$1.3 million came from just one couple, who were not disclosed in court papers. Taub faces a maximum sentence of 25 years in prison and is scheduled to appear again for sentencing July 12.
Taub unsuccessfully ran for Congress in 2016 against incumbent Rhode Island Democratic Rep. David Cicilline.
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