Ex-GOP congressional candidate charged with wire fraud, violating election law

A former Republican congressional candidate in Rhode Island has been charged with wire fraud and violating federal election law.

H. Russell Taub, who ran unsuccessfully in 2016 against incumbent Rep. David CicillineDavid Nicola CicillineHillicon Valley: Federal inquiry opened into Google health data deal | Facebook reports millions of post takedowns | Microsoft shakes up privacy debate | Disney plus tops 10M sign-ups in first day Top antitrust Dem presses DOJ, FTC on Google's Fitbit acquisition Hillicon Valley: California AG reveals Facebook investigation | McConnell criticizes Twitter's political ad ban | Lawmakers raise concerns over Google takeover of Fitbit | Dem pushes FCC to secure 5G networks MORE (D), has reached a plea deal with federal prosecutors, The Providence Journal reported Wednesday, citing court documents.

Taub is being charged with using more than $1 million in political donations for personal use. He is scheduled to be arraigned Friday on single charges of wire fraud and violating federal election law. He faces a maximum of 25 years in prison, the Journal noted.

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The Department of Justice's (DOJ) Public Integrity Section reportedly filed charges against Taub last week accusing the Republican of soliciting more than $1.6 million through his Keeping America in Republican Control PAC and an affiliated Ohio PAC.

The DOJ alleges that Taub withdrew “nearly $100,000” in cash from that fund and transferred another $715,000 into his personal bank accounts. The department also accused Taub of using more than $217,000 for personal expenses, such as travel, restaurant meals and "escort services," the Journal reported.

Taub is also accused of using his super PAC in an illegal fashion. More than 160 people donated to Taub's PAC. 

The charges against Taub come after a Washington ethics watchdog filed a complaint against him last year claiming that his PAC was a "scam" breaking campaign finance requirements. 

According to the reported court documents, Taub is ordered to forfeit any asset worth more than $1,000, any funds he received through his PACs and pay restitution to the victims as part of his plea deal.