- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 21, 2010


Ex-representative’s aide sentenced

NEW HAVEN | The campaign manager for former Connecticut Rep. Christopher Shays was sentenced Tuesday to 37 months in prison for embezzling more than $250,000 in campaign funds from Mr. Shays.

Michael Sohn of Fairfield apologized at his sentencing for what he called “my careless and reckless actions.” He pleaded guilty in March to charges of tax evasion and illegally converting campaign contributions to his personal accounts.

Sohn, who must surrender Nov. 30, also was ordered to pay restitution of $252,424 to Mr. Shays’ campaign and to pay $95,955 to the Internal Revenue Service for back taxes.

The judge recommended that Sohn be allowed to participate in a 500-hour drug-rehabilitation program. Sohn will be eligible for a one-year reduction of his sentence if the Bureau of Prisons accepts him into the program and he completes it.

Federal prosecutors said Sohn used the money to buy his fiancee a $13,000 engagement ring and for other personal expenses, including car repairs, theater tickets, a hotel and a limousine.


Republican leaders punish Murkowski

Senate Republicans on Tuesday moved to strip Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski of her post as top Republican on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, further punishing her as she mounts a write-in bid to try to keep her Senate seat.

Mrs. Murkowski already has stepped down from her leadership role in the GOP caucus and could lose her energy panel position as soon as Wednesday if the 41-member Republican caucus votes to remove her in a secret ballot.

The events marked a swift downfall for Mrs. Murkowski, who in her first full term rose to be Alaska’s senior senator and a powerful voice on energy issues and climate change.

A one-time favorite of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Mrs. Murkowski was stunned in last month’s Senate primary, losing to “tea party”-backed challenger Joe Miller before announcing an independent write-in effort to keep her seat.


GOP files Lincoln ethics complaint

LITTLE ROCK | The Arkansas Republican Party has filed an ethics complaint against Sen. Blanche Lincoln, saying the Democrat improperly used taxpayer funds to mail a newsletter about her re-election bid.

The GOP said Tuesday its complaint to the Senate Select Committee on Ethics was over a four-page mailer from Mrs. Lincoln’s office that it says arrived in mailboxes during a blackout period.

Mrs. Lincoln trails Republican Rep. John Boozman in most polls and is considered one of the most vulnerable incumbents as the GOP hopes to gain ground in Washington.

Senators are prevented from sending out taxpayer-funded mass mailings within 60 days of the election. Mrs. Lincoln’s office has said the mailers were sent by Sept. 1, two days before the blackout period. Her campaign did not have an immediate comment on the complaint.


Miller acknowledges receiving subsidies

JUNEAU | Alaska Republican U.S. Senate candidate Joe Miller received federal farm subsidies for land that the fiscal conservative owned in Kansas in the 1990s.

Mr. Miller won the GOP primary with more than $550,000 in support from the Tea Party Express and campaigned in opposition to out-of-control spending by incumbents in Congress, including GOP primary opponent Sen. Lisa Murkowski.

The acknowledgment by the Miller campaign that he accepted farm subsidies follows a story by the Alaska Dispatch, which discovered through a Freedom of Information Act request that he had received more than $7,000 in subsidies from the U.S. Department of Agriculture in 1991-97.

A blog last week reported that Mr. Miller, a lawyer, received subsidies for land in Alaska, a story the campaign called manufactured.


Suit seeks refund of Crist donations

NAPLES | Two GOP donors want a judge to force Gov. Charlie Crist to refund their contributions after he bolted the party to run for U.S. Senate as an independent.

Lawyer Thomas Grady, a GOP state representative from Naples, is asking Circuit Judge Jack Schoonover to declare the case a class action. It could include at least 2,000 Republicans who contributed $7.5 million before Mr. Crist announced in April that he was leaving the party.

In general, federal law allows a candidate to use contributions for any legal purpose even giving it to a politician of another party but Mr. Grady’s clients are hoping to prevail under state contract law.

Crist attorney Scott Weinstein said it’s impossible to define a class of contributors because people have many different reasons for giving money to politicians.


Brown to headline Senate fundraiser

HARRISBURG | Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown is headlining a fundraiser for Pennsylvania’s Republican candidate for Senate.

Pat Toomey’s campaign said the Philadelphia fundraiser with the freshman GOP senator is Friday. That makes Mr. Brown the second New England senator in two months to raise money for Mr. Toomey in Philadelphia.

Mr. Toomey is in a closely contested race with Democrat Joe Sestak.

Moderate Maine Sen. Susan Collins appeared at a fundraiser for Mr. Toomey in August.

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