Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Could FBI finance investigation at NRCC spell trouble for McHenry?

You tell me:

FACT ONE: According to politico dot com last week:
Top House Republicans were told in recent days that a former employee of their campaign committee may have forged an official audit during the contentious 2006 election cycle and that they should brace for the possibility that an unfolding investigation could uncover financial improprieties stretching back several years, according to GOP sources briefed on the members-only discussions.
. . .
The precise details of the suspected accounting irregularities and their possible fallout are not entirely clear. NRCC officials and top GOP leaders are being tight-lipped in large part because the FBI is investigating the matter. An outside lawyer advising members and staff has warned everyone at the committee to keep quiet.
FACT TWO: From 2004 to 2006, Patrick McHenry was one of seven Republican Congressman that worked so hard to raise money for the RNCC that he was named as vice chair of NRCC fundraising in January 2007, after only one term in Congress.

FACT THREE: McHenry's 2008 campaign has retained, high-powered DC law firm, Wiley Rein, LLC for 3,000 month. (I can find no other campaign that has hired a lawyer. I'm pretty sure most people don't expect their campaign donations to pay for legal fees for legal problems that don't exist . . .)

FACTS FOUR, FIVE & SIX: Wiley Rein's Elections Law and Government Ethics Division is led by Jan Witold Baran, who has been named by the Washingtonian as one of the top 50 campaign and elections lawyers in the country. Another Wiley Rein partner, Caleb P. Burns, teaches an annual class with the more experienced Baran titled "Complying with Campaign Finance, Lobbying & Ethics Laws." Mr. Burns' bio mentions undergraduate work in North Carolina as well as
Member, Lawyers for Bush-Cheney (2000). Participated in the 2000 election recount efforts.
RUMOR and SPECULATION: A third Wiley Rein partner and elections specialist, Carol Lanham writes about flying on private planes with Senate campaigns, something McHenry has rumored to have done with a friend from Bank of America during a Dole campaign swing through Charlotte a few years ago.

Of course, Patrick McHenry also worked the 2000 Bush Florida recount where he could have met Burns.

So, maybe he's just throwing some bidness in the way of old friends? Yeah, that's the ticket.

Cross Posted at BlueNCand ScruHoo.

UPDATE: Roll Call is covering this: Here's the first three graphs and a link for subscibers
The FBI investigation into financial irregularities at the National Republican Congressional Committee was triggered when NRCC Audit Committee Chairman Mike Conaway (Texas) asked for an exit interview with the accounting firm that conducted the committee's 2006 audit, according to a source briefed on the unfolding scandal.

Conaway had been seeking an audit of the committee's books, and when former NRCC Treasurer Christopher Ward produced one, Conaway — a certified public accountant — insisted on doing an interview with the auditing firm.

After delays and more delays, it became clear that the exit interview was never going to happen and the accounting firm that supposedly conducted the audit was contacted. Officials at the firm, the name of which has not been disclosed, then confirmed to the NRCC that they had not conducted the audit and the letterhead that was used had been forged to look like it was theirs.
Wonder what the NRCC has been hiding . . .

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