Dewhurst campaign: Aide stole at least $1 million

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Associated Press

Posted on February 8, 2013 at 2:05 AM

Updated Friday, Feb 8 at 1:32 PM

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — The dollar figures at issue in Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst's Senate campaign fund embezzlement case continue to grow — and so does the investigation of the allegations.

Documents Dewhurst's attorneys recently submitted to the Federal Election Commission accuse Kenneth Barfield of taking for his own use at least $1 million from the Republican lieutenant governor's 2012 U.S. Senate campaign, which Barfield managed. Furthermore, the campaign submitted 11 amended campaign finance reports covering the last five years. They list far fewer contributions previously thought made to his state campaign account, contributions the campaigns said in a letter "which did not actually occur." The deletions range from about $600,000 to $1.3 million.

The campaign letter to the FEC also said the Dewhurst Senate campaign account owes money to his state political account for consulting services in possible violation of federal campaign finance laws.

The Justice Department has joined the Travis County district attorney's office investigation of Barfield. The investigation of the federal campaign account has been ongoing since an accountant found problems in the state campaign account and showed Barfield using Senate campaign funds for "his own personal gain," said Rob Johnson, spokesman for Dewhurst's 2012 Senate campaign.

"This is a serious and unfortunate situation, and our attorneys have turned the matter over to the U.S. Justice Department and Federal Election Commission," he said. "The federal campaign is fully cooperating with both agencies in their investigation of this matter, and we look forward to the resolution of this matter."

No listed telephone number for Barfield is found, but The Dallas Morning News reports he declined to comment.

Barfield has not been charged with any crime. He had been Dewhurst's campaign manager since 2008, two years before Dewhurst ran for his third term as lieutenant governor.

Dewhurst was defeated by Ted Cruz in the Republican U.S. Senate primary in Texas. Cruz went on to defeat Democrat Paul Sadler handily in November to succeed retiring Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison.

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