A Republican operative pleaded guilty Tuesday for his role in a collection of political action committees that prosecutors say defrauded donors.
Scott B. MacKenzie, 66, of Arlington, pleaded guilty to one count of making a false statement to the Federal Election Commission. He faces up to five years in prison when he is sentenced on Feb. 21.
MacKenzie agreed to pay $172,000 in restitution to the PACs’ donors, the Justice Department said.
MacKenzie, a longtime operative who worked on the campaigns of Jack Kemp, Ronald Reagan and Patrick Buchanan, served as treasurer for a coalition of 52 PACs, including Conservative StrikeForce, Conservative Majority Fund, Tea Party Majority Fund and Conservative Majority SuperFund.
Prosecutors say the committees raised money for candidates, but then funneled it to associates who did little work. For example, between October 2011 and June 2014, MacKenzie paid $32,500 to an umbrella retailer who had no experience in political fundraising and did provide any services to the PACs, prosecutors said.
That individual was identified in court documents as a woman who shared a bank account with MacKenzie. She was also used as a conduit for illegal campaign contributions between 2012 and 2015, prosecutors said.
Candidates were not named in court filings. But former Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli — now President Trump’s acting director of the United States Citizen and Immigration Services — sued Mackenzie in 2014, alleging that the PACs failed to delivery money promised for Mr. Cuccinelli’s failed 2013 gubernatorial campaign.
In 2015 Conservative Strikeforce agreed to pay $85,000 to Mr. Cuccinelli to settle the lawsuit.
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