Does Embezzlement Scandal Explain Fossella’s Missing FEC Reports?

Two-family man Vito Fossella is said to be mulling a bid to recapture his old House seat — but he hasn’t filed FEC reports, as required by law, in over a year. Could a Republican embezzlement scandal help explain why?

The commission recently wrote to Fossella — a New York Republican who left Congress under a cloud in 2009 — to inform him that his campaign committee had failed to file a quarterly report for the January-March 2010 period, as required by law. This was the fourth “failure to file” notice Fossella has received from the committee over the last year, according to online records examined by TPMmuckraker. The former lawmaker didn’t file reports for any of the second, third, or fourth quarters of 2009.Fossella did not immediately respond to a message left for him with the Staten Island GOP chair. But the omissions may have roots in a deeper scandal. Fossella’s 2009 first quarter report — the last report his committee filed — showed that he had over $58,000 on hand, but also stated: “The accuracy of this report is in question due to alleged embezzlement of funds. The Committee is in the process of reconciling its records and will file an amended report as soon as possible.”

Until February 2008, the treasurer of Fossella’s committee was Chris Ward, the former NRCC treasurer who was investigated by the FBI for allegedly embezzling hundreds of thousands of dollars over several years. Ward “deceived and betrayed” the NRCC, said then-chair Rep. Tom Cole in 2008.

Because Fossella never dissolved the committee, he still is required by law to file reports.
If he runs this year, he’d have to file those back reports or face a fine, an FEC spokesman has said.

Fossella did not seek re-election in 2008 to his Staten Island seat after a drunk-driving arrest led to the revelation that the married lawmaker had a mistress with whom he had fathered a child.