Background: Former Paul Broun chief of staff indicted on eight counts
“David Bowser abused his position as a chief of staff on Capitol Hill to fund political campaigns with taxpayer funds, and then lied to cover up his crimes,” acting Assistant Attorney General John P. Cronan said in a written statement.
The Justice Department said the FBI is investigating the case. Bowser and Broun did not respond to requests for comment.
In 2015, former GOP strategist and debate coach Brett O’Donnell pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Macon to lying to investigators about his relationship with Broun’s office.
O’Donnell listed Bowser as “Person A” and Broun as “Congressman A” in his plea, details that matched up with an Office of Congressional Ethics investigation that named both men. Bowser was quoted in the plea as using an expletive in discussing the office and its investigation, and telling O’Donnell that he should falsely maintain that he was a volunteer debate coach for Broun’s campaign.
Background: What did former Rep. Paul Broun know? Corruption probe inches closer
Official funds for members of Congress cannot go toward campaign activity, though official staff often volunteer for campaigns in their free time. Many staffers also are paid by a member’s campaign and official accounts, and Broun did this for some staff but not O’Donnell. The debate coach was paid $43,750 from 2012 to 2014 from Broun’s taxpayer-funded office account, and he performed similar services for other members of Congress.
Bowser and Broun both told investigators and said publicly that O’Donnell worked for Broun from 2012 to 2014 as a consultant for $2,500 per month to help sharpen Broun’s communication skills on official matters such as floor speeches, while volunteering for Broun’s 2012 House re-election campaign and 2014 Senate bid.
Broun previously said he cooperated with investigators and that he was not subject to any related investigations into his own actions.
“Everything I did was completely above board, and the investigation has proven that,” he said in April 2016.
Bowser resigned his position as the top aide of U.S. Rep. Mimi Walters, R-Calif., shortly after he was indicted in April 2016. Broun left Capitol Hill in late 2014 after losing the GOP primary to succeed Saxby Chambliss in the Senate, and he briefly made a comeback bid in spring 2016 when he unsuccessfully challenged onetime colleague Doug Collins for his House seat.