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Remember that financial scandal at the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC)? The one that involves all sorts of apparent financial improprieties and lots of money missing from the NRCC’s coffers?
A recent story in Roll Call said that “the forensic audit and legal fees involved in the scandal might cost the [NRCC] hundreds of thousands of dollars,” and an official with the Committee, when asked if the cost might hit $1 million, replied only: “We certainly hope not.” This is especially bad news for the NRCC given how hard up it has been for cash, and that it just shelled out more than $1 million in an unsuccessful effort to hold on to former House Speaker Denny Hastert’s Illinois House seat.
The man at the center of the scandal is Christopher Ward, a former NRCC treasurer who also founded a firm called Political Compliance Services. A review of FEC records finds that Ward frequently teamed up with a fundraising company called Aventum LLC, whose founder and president is Hetaf al-Kraydi, another former NRCC employee. For example, during the 2005-2006 election cycle, Congressman Jerry Weller paid Aventum over $111,000 and Political Compliance Services about $8,000. During the same period, Congressman Rodney Alexander paid Aventum some $46,000 and Political Compliance Services nearly $22,000.
The tag team of Ward and Aventum hasn’t always worked out so well for those who hired them. In 2006 a joint fundraising committee called Bowling for Our Majority Committee (BOMP), was created by former Congressman John Sweeney to save seven endangered House Republicans. It raised over $40,000, including $9,000 from the Wine and Spirit Wholesalers of America and $5,000 from the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America. Aventum received about $28,000 of the money raised and Ward got paid $800. The seven House Republicans who were supposed to benefit, however, received $1,445.45 apiece.
I emailed Kraydi to ask about her firm’s relationship with Ward and other matters. If I hear back from her I’ll update this story.
More from Ken Silverstein:
Commentary — November 17, 2015, 6:41 pm
The Clintons’ so-called charitable enterprise has served as a vehicle to launder money and to enrich family friends.
Freddie Gray’s relatives arrived for the trial in the afternoon, after the prep-school kids had left. By their dress, they seemed to have just gotten off work in the medical and clerical fields. The family did not appear at ease in the courtroom. They winced and dropped their heads as William Porter and his fellow officer Zachary Novak testified to opening the doors of their police van last April and finding Freddie paralyzed, unresponsive, with mucus pooling at his mouth and nose. Four women and one man mournfully listened as the officers described needing to get gloves before they could touch him.
The first of six Baltimore police officers to be brought before the court for their treatment of Freddie Gray, a black twenty-five-year-old whose death in their custody was the immediate cause of the city’s uprising last spring, William Porter is young, black, and on trial. Here in this courtroom, in this city, in this nation, race and the future seem so intertwined as to be the same thing.
Pairs of moose-dung earrings sold each year at Grizzly’s Gifts in Anchorage, Alaska:
An Alaskan brown bear was reported to have scratched its face with barnacled rocks, making it the first bear seen using tools since 1972, when a Svalbardian polar bear is alleged to have clubbed a seal in the head with a block of ice.
A former prison in Philadelphia that has served as a horror-movie set was being prepared as a detention center for protesters arrested at the upcoming Democratic National Convention, and presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump fired his campaign manager.
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“Matt was happy enough to sustain himself on the detritus of a world he saw as careening toward self-destruction, and equally happy to scam a government he despised. 'I’m glad everyone’s so wasteful,' he told me. 'It supports my lifestyle.'”