Former congressional candidate pleads guilty to spending political donations on escorts, clothes, airfare – By Zachary Halaschak (Washington Examiner) / March 21 2019
A former Republican congressional candidate pleaded guilty Thursday to wire fraud and campaign finance violations.
Harold Russell Taub, 30, admitted to using more than $1 million in political contributions “for purely personal reasons,” according to a Thursday news release from the Justice Department.
Taub ran an unsuccessful 2016 campaign in Rhode Island against Democratic Rep. David Cicilline, losing by 29.4 percentage points. After the election, he solicited about $1.6 million in donations through two entities purporting to be political action committees, although neither was registered with the Federal Election Commission.
The first fake PAC was launched in December 2016 and named “Keeping America in Republican Control.” The second was started in March of last year and called “Keeping Ohio in Republican Control.”
The FBI investigation revealed Taub told donors that 100 percent of the funds given to the two PACs would “be used to further the candidates they support,” despite the fact that Taub was the only one working with the two entities and was paying himself substantial amounts of money from the funds gathered through the scam.
According to the charging document, Taub spent more than $217,000 of that money to pay for personal expenses, “including tens of thousands of dollars on international and domestic air travel, hotels, restaurants, clothing, cigars, adult entertainment, and escort services” as well as stashing more than $700,000 in his personal checking and savings accounts.
During the scheme, Taub also “repeatedly used the name of a former Ambassador and high-level military officer without the knowledge or permission of the person, even after being instructed not to do so.”
Taub is set to be sentenced July 12.