Campaign consultant pleads guilty to embezzling $1.8 million in Texas race

Reuters News
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Posted: Oct 21, 2014 3:33 PM

By Jon Herskovitz

AUSTIN Texas (Reuters) - A political consultant hired for the failed 2012 campaign of Texas Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst for a U.S. Senate seat pleaded guilty on Tuesday to siphoning off about $1.8 million in campaign funds for his personal use, prosecutors said.

Kenneth "Buddy" Barfield was charged with embezzling campaign funds and using the money for his mortgage, tuition for his children, investments and other personal expenses, prosecutors said.

Barfield's lawyer, Gerry Morris, declined to speak to reporters after a brief hearing at a federal court in Austin, media reports said.

Barfield, 58, has been released on bond and faces up to 20 years in jail, prosecutors said. A date for his sentencing hearing has not been set yet.

"This case should serve as a reminder of the unfortunate truth that some people abuse positions of trust to enrich themselves at the expense of others, including, in this case, the taxpayers," said U.S. Attorney Robert Pitman.

Dewhurst, a Republican, lost the 2012 primary for the Senate seat to Ted Cruz, who then won the general election for the office. Dewhurst was not immediately available to comment.

(Reporting by Jon Herskovitz; Editing by Sandra Maler)