“NRCC SAYS EX-TREASURER DIVERTED UP TO $1 MILLION,” blared the Page One story of the Washington Post Friday (March 14). As of last week, the story of the diversion of funds by former National Republican Congressional Committee Treasurer Christopher Ward — almost surely the largest documented case of financial fraud in modern political history — was becoming a major news story by the day. The 39-year-old Ward is now under investigation from the FBI and facing up to $1 million and 30 years in prison for diverting NRCC funds for personal use. Going into what by most accounts is going to be a diffcult election year, national Republican leaders are not being helped by the revelations that their congressional campaign committee has been “deceived and betrayed for a number of years by a highly respected and trusted individual,” according to NRCC Chairman Tom Cole (R.-Okla).
As stunning as the unfolding scandal becomes, it was no surprise — if you had been reading HUMAN EVENTS. More than a month ago (see “Capitol Briefs,” HUMAN EVENTS, February 11), we were the first to report that the early reports of irregularities in the committee’s financial reports were “the result of the committee”snot having conducted an internal audit since 2001” — something that major newspapers began reporting only a week ago. In addition, we told our readers to watch for “at least two committee operatives [who] would be under investigation in the next few months.” We knew about Ward, but kept his identity confidential because our source insisted on extreme anonymity. Now Ward is, of course, front page news. We can’t at this time divulge any other names — including the other operative who has been separated from his office at the NRCC — but, as the scandal unfolds, it is a safe bet to say Ward will not be alone as a target of a federal probe.