The chief of staff for Rep. Mimi Walters resigned on Thursday following his indictment on federal charges that he misappropriated funds to pay a campaign consultant while he worked for then-Rep. Paul Broun.
Walter’s office confirmed that David G. Bowser, 45, had stepped down, highlighting that the counts against him occurred before Walters, a California Republican, became a member of Congress.
The indictment handed up on Wednesday could add to the haze over Broun’s campaign for Congress in Georgia’s 9th District, which could reopen an ethics investigation of the allegations dating back to the Republican’s last term in the House.
Bowser, of Arlington, faces eight counts: obstruction of proceedings, theft of government property, concealment of material facts and five counts of making false statements. The charges are in Washington, and Bowser will be arraigned and make an initial appearance at a later date, the Justice Department said.
The indictment alleges that Bowser hired communications consultant Brett O’Donnell in 2012 and paid him $43,750 in congressional funds to assist Broun with his messaging.
Congressionally appropriated funds must be used for official congressional purposes and cannot be used to further a lawmaker’s campaign or pay for campaign-related expenses, the Justice Department said.
O’Donnell, however, assisted with Broun’s re-election campaign for the House in 2012 and Senate in 2014, including preparing for debates, drafting and practicing campaign speeches and advising on campaign messaging, the indictment states.
Bowser also tried to obstruct the non-partisan Office of Congressional Ethics after it launched an investigation into O’Donnell’s payment in March 2014, the Justice Department states. That includes allegations he delayed and failed to produce relevant documents, influenced the testimony of witnesses and falsely stated that O’Donnell was hired solely to provide official services.
O’Donnell pleaded guilty in a Georgia federal court to one count of making false statements related to this case in September in connection to the case, the Justice Department said.
Broun has consistently denied any wrongdoing on his part. Typically when a member of Congress under Ethics Committee investigation leaves office, the probe ends there because the panel’s jurisdiction doesn’t apply anymore. But if Broun were to return to Congress, it could present the committee with the opportunity to re-open its case.