Campaign staffer accused of stealing
Rep. Dana Rohrabacher ( R- Huntington Beach) said this week that a former treasurer of his reelection committee had embezzled more than $ 170,000 from the campaign.
“I am disappointed and dismayed by this betrayal of trust,” Rohrabacher said in a statement released by his attorney, Charles H. Bell Jr.
Rohrabacher has f iled criminal complaints against the former treasurer, Jack Wu of Newport Beach, with the Orange County district attorney and state attorney general, Bell said.
Wu, 44, is a longtime activist in Orange County Republican politics. He did not respond this week to an email and voicemail seeking comment.
Wu, who according to court records f iled for per- sonal bankruptcy in 1996, ran unsuccessfully for mayor of Irvine in 1998, the Irvine Ranch Water District board in 2002 and the Newport Beach City Council in 2006.
In a column last year in the Orange County Register, Wu reminisced about smoking cigars with Tom Fuentes, the late Orange County GOP chairman, on a patio at Duke’s Place, now the Balboa Bay Club. A Wu column in the Register the following week was headlined: “Newport Beach’s unethical investment of city funds.”
Wu was Rohrabacher’s volunteer treasurer for about seven years, Bell said. The campaign committee is auditing its books for that entire period to determine the exact amount of committee funds that may have been embezzled, Bell’s statement said.
The alleged embezzle- ment came to light, Bell said, when irregularities surfaced with the committee’s credit card. The committee “discovered that rather than about $ 185,000 cash on hand, its account had $ 187 in late May 2015,” Bell said.
The most recent report filed by Rohrabacher’s campaign with the Federal Election Commission stated that the committee had $ 196,906 in cash on hand at the end of 2014.
Rohrabacher froze the committee’s bank account and replaced Wu as treasurer, Bell said. Confronted with the allegations, Wu “admitted to taking approximately $ 173,500 in funds from the committee’s account,” Bell said.
Wu promised full and immediate restitution, “but as of this date has failed to do so,” Bell said.
Spokesmen for state Atty. Gen. Kamala D. Harris and Orange County Dist. Atty. Tony Rackauckas said their offices would evaluate Rohrabacher’s complaint.
MORE THAN $ 170,000 went missing from Rep. Dana Rohrabacher’s committee account.