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Former Maryland state lawmaker pleads guilty to illegal use of campaign funds

Former Maryland state lawmaker pleads guilty to illegal use of campaign funds
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A former Maryland state lawmaker reportedly pleaded guilty Thursday to federal wire fraud after admitting to misusing $22,000 in campaign funds.

Tawanna Gaines, 67, said she used the money for personal expenses, The Washington Post reports.

Prosecutors said Gaines, a Prince George’s County Democrat, solicited the money for her campaign fund, Friends of Tawanna P. Gaines, and transferred it to a PayPal account that wasn’t listed in her campaign filings with the state, WBAL reports. She later spent the money on herself.

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Gaines has served in the Maryland House of Delegates since 2001 and later became vice chairwoman of the state House Appropriations Committee. She also served as deputy majority whip between 2003 and 2007 and assistant majority leader in 2015.

She abruptly resigned from the House of Delegates earlier this month as she faced federal charges. She is the third Democratic state lawmaker from the county to face criminal charges over misusing money in the past two years, the Post notes.

Gaines could face between eight and 14 months in prison, the Post reports, and her sentencing is set for Jan. 3.