International Financial Law Prof Blog

Editor: William Byrnes
Texas A&M University
School of Law

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

First Criminal Prosecution in the United States For Campaign Finance Coordination between Political Committees

FBISeal (1)Campaign Manager, Tyler Harber, of Republican VA Congressional Candidate, Chris Perkins, Pleads Guilty to ,  with the National Republican Victory Fund super-PAC for the unsuccessful challenge to unseat incumbent Democratic Representative Gerald Connolly.

The campaign finance manager and political consultant plead guilty February 12th for coordinating $325,000 in federal election campaign contributions by the political action committee (PAC) to the Congressional campaign committee.  This is the first criminal prosecution in the United States based upon the coordination of campaign contributions between political committees.   

Tyler Eugene Harber, 34, of Alexandria, Virginia, plead guilty to one count of coordinated federal election contributions and one count of making false statements to the FBI.  A sentencing hearing is scheduled for June 5, 2015.  According to the plea documents, Harber was the Campaign Manager and General Political Consultant for a candidate for Congress in the November 2012 general election.  At the same time, Harber participated in the creation and operation of a PAC, which was legally allowed to raise and spend money in unlimited amounts from otherwise prohibited sources to influence federal elections so long as it did not coordinate expenditures with a federal campaign. 

Harber admitted, among other things, that he made and directed coordinated expenditures by the PAC to influence the election with $325,000 of political advertising opposing a rival candidate.  The coordination of expenditures made them illegal campaign contributions to the authorized committee of Harber’s candidate, and Harber admitted that he knew this coordination of expenditures was an unlawful means of contributing money to a campaign committee.  He further admitted that he used an alias and other means to conceal his action from inquiries by an official of the same political party as Harber’s candidate.

Harber further admitted that he told multiple lies when interviewed by the FBI concerning his activities.

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