Former Rhode Island Republican congressional candidate H. Russell Taub was accused of using more than $1 million in political donations for personal expenses and has reached a plea agreement with federal prosecutors, according to the Providence Journal.
Taub unsuccessfully challenged Democratic Rep. David Cicilline in 2016.
Charges filed last week by the U.S. Justice Department’s Public Integrity Section were spurred by a complaint made last year by a Washington ethics watchdog, the Journal reported.
In its complaint against Taub, the Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust (FACT) told the Federal Elections Commission it believed the candidate’s Keeping America in Republican Control Political Action Committee was a “scam” and was violating campaign finance reporting requirements.
Charging documents allege that Taub “solicited more than $1.6 million through KAIRC and an affiliated Ohio PAC, but that the majority of the contributions never made their way toward helping GOP candidates,” according to the Journal.
Of the more than $1 million Taub siphoned for personal use, over $217,000 went toward expenses that included “airfare, hotel rooms, restaurant meals, clothes, cigars, strip club visits and ‘escort services.’”
Taub’s plea agreement requires he forfeit any asset worth more than $1,000 as well as any funds he received through his PACs. He is also required to pay restitution to his victims and faces a possible 25 years in prison.
Though FACT also raised concerns with the FEC regarding Taub’s claim to be an ambassador to the International Human Rights Commission, described as a Ukrainian organization founded in 2014, the charges against Taub make no mention of the organization.