Saturday, August 20, 2005
Adam Taff, who ran for the Republican nomination in the Kansas Third Congressional District in 2004 and lost by 207 votes, faces a more daunting challenge because he has been indicted on a wire fraud charge and for misusing campaign funds for personal use. Taff was charged along with mortgage broker John Myers for their part in a scheme to defraud related to Taff obtaining a mortgage for a $1.2 million home. According to a press release issued by the U.S. Attorney's Office (here):
On Jan. 19, 2004, Taff met with a NovaStar agent and signed a loan application which showed among his personal assets two accounts at Metcalf Bank, with balances of $61,746 and $250,000. The two accounts actually were his campaign committee's accounts and not his personal accounts, even though at the time he had made loans to his campaign totaling $125,000. The loan application also falsely stated that his monthly income was $15,000 although his actual income was approximately $6,500 a month. On Feb. 10, 2004, Taff withdrew funds from his two campaign committee accounts at Metcalf Bank and obtained a $300,000 bank check payable to Myers and his wife. Taff and Myers then met with a closing agent at a title company in Overland Park and represented that the $300,000 check was a down payment from Taff to Myers. In fact, Taff and Myers did not intend for Myers to receive the money. With the knowledge and approval of Taff and Myers, the closing agent altered a copy of the $300,000 check to make it appear the check was made payable to the title company. The agent also prepared a closing statement to be sent to NovaStar falsely stating that Taff had paid $300,000 to the title company for distribution to Myers. Taff and Myers signed the false closing statement. The agent faxed the false information to NovaStar. Then, with the knowledge and consent of Myers, Taff took the $300,000 check back and returned the money to his campaign accounts at Metcalf Bank.
The second count of the indictment alleges that on Feb. 10, 2004, Taff violated the Federal Election Campaign Act by converting to his personal use approximately $175,000 in contributions and donations to his authorized political committee, Taff for Congress, by using the funds to obtain the $300,000 check that was part of the mortgage deal.
I wonder whether Taff, who had been the 2002 Republican nominee, thought that he'd have an easy time winning the nomination again, especially when his main opponent for the nomination was strong social conservative Kris Kobach, whom Taff may have viewed as out-of-touch with the district's more moderate views. Kobach lost the 2004 general election to Democrat incumbent Dennis Moore by a 55-44% margin, even with George Bush winning 62% of the vote. Taff may have figured the money would not be needed for a while, and he could put it to better use in buying his home. This certainly puts an end to his political career. (ph -- thanks to Scott Lawder for the information)