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GOP Candidates Nix Consultant

Rep. Vito Fossella (R-N.Y.) and Illinois Republican candidates Tim Baldermann and Aaron Schock also have severed ties with Ward, who served as treasurer for their campaign committees, according to their spokesmen.

For the 2007-2008 campaign cycle, Ward has been listed as the treasurer of 31 campaign committees, according to data provided by the FEC. The list includes member re-election committees, political action committees and joint fundraising committees, some of which are inactive. Ward’s firms — Political Compliance Services, CJ Ward and Associates, and American Political Webware — have been paid tens of thousands of dollars by Republican campaigns and organizations over the past year, according to FEC records.

Schock campaign manager Steve Shearer said the campaign hired Ward because of his impressive history of working for Republican candidates and committees.

“He was the gold standard of making sure we weren’t going to have any problems with the FEC,” Shearer said.

But after reading about the case in the news over the weekend, Shearer said the campaign made a change.

“We replaced our treasurer on Saturday,” he said.

The Baldermann campaign reacted similarly.

“Though all the facts are still unknown, we are nonetheless moving swiftly in taking the necessary steps to designate a new campaign treasurer due to the gravity of the matter,” Baldermann campaign spokesman Andy Seré said.

Baldermann and Schock both won their primaries Tuesday night, and both campaigns said there is no evidence that any of their campaign money is missing or has been misreported. Alexander said the investigation “causes some concerns and raises red flags” but that he does not have any reason to believe any money has been lost.

Fossella campaign spokeswoman Georgea Kay said, “We have severed ties with this vendor as of last week and have hired a new accounting firm.”

“It’s a distraction,” House Minority Whip Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) said of the accounting troubles, but he said that it would be a short-term issue that won’t mean much outside Washington.

Blunt also praised the committee leadership for taking swift action to correct the problems. “Leadership, including Chairman Cole, have been committed to getting to the bottom of any problem,” Blunt said.

“We’ll move on.”

Blunt added that he remains confident in the committee’s leadership, despite the accounting problems and a persistent lag in fundraising relative to the Democrats.

Lauren W. Whittington and Steven T. Dennis contributed to this report.

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