- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 21, 2019

A former U.S. congressional candidate from Rhode Island pleaded guilty Thursday to using more than $1.6 million in political donations for personal use, including escort services and cigars, the Justice Department announced.

Harold Russell Taub of Cranston, Rhode Island, pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud and one count of election fraud. He will be sentenced on July 12.

Taub formed two committees aimed at helping Republican congressional candidates in Ohio.

The committees, Keeping American in Republican Control and Keeping Ohio in Republican control were not registered with the Federal Election Commission and Taub did not file the disclosed paperwork.

Prosecutors said roughly $1.3 million of the total $1.6 million donated to the committees came from an unidentified wealthy Ohio couple.

Taub transferred more than $715,000 to his personal account, withdrawing nearly $100,000 in cash and using more than $217,000 for personal expenses. Those expenses included international vacations, hotels, clothing, cigars, adult entertainment and escort services, according to court papers.

Taub, who ran against Democrat Rep. David Cicilline in 2016, faces a maximum of 25 years in prison and a $500,000 fine.

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