OC House Member’s Chief of Staff Indicted for Crimes Under Prior Congressional Boss
Posted by Chris Nguyen on April 7, 2016
David Bowser has been indicted for spending $43,750 in taxpayer money from then-Congressman Paul Broun‘s government office to pay a campaign consultant fro 2012-2014 for Broun’s successful 2012 re-election bid and his ill-fated primary election bid for United States Senate from Georgia. Bowser currently serves as Chief of Staff to OC Congresswoman Mimi Walters, who was elected to the House in November 2014, six months after Broun came in fifth place in the Georgia primary for Senate. Broun is currently attempting to return to the House in a neighboring district by challenging an incumbent Congressman Doug Collins in the Republican primary.
Bowser has been indicted by the United States Department of Justice on eight counts:
- Theft of government property (one count)
- Obstruction of proceedings (one count)
- Concealment of material facts (one count)
- Making false statements (five counts)
Most of the charges seem to indicate the “cover-up is worse than the crime” adage.
Brett O’Donnell of O’Donnell & Associates joined Broun’s Congressional office in June 2012. Bowser allegedly instructed O’Donnell to begin helping Broun for “political debates, drafting and practicing campaign speeches and advising on campaign messaging” for the Broun’s 2012 Congressional reelection and his 2014 Senate bid. O’Donnell & Associates was not paid by Broun’s campaign, only by his taxpayer funded office. O’Donnell was fired in March 2014 fired when Georgia television reported about his role with Broun.
Emails from Bowser indicated O’Donnell’s campaign role.
- In June 2012, Bowser wrote (from his government email account) to O’Donnell: “As we discussed last week, there was a potential for a debate which has now turned into a scheduled event on June 22nd on television from 9:30 – 10:30 run in studio…The Congressman would like to schedule a couple of hours later that afternoon for debate preparations so we are going to hold from 3-6pm on our schedule and secure a conference room at the NRCC for this purpose…”
- In January 2014, Bowser wrote (from his personal email account) to Broun’s Press Secetary (while cc’ing O’Donnell), complaining that O’Donnell was missing Broun’s first U.S. Senate debate to do charity work in Africa: “Since our debate consultant actually abandoned us on our first debate for a bunch of Ethiopians who don’t pay him, I may need to send you to Adel[, Georgia] this weekend if you are able to go?”
- In February 2014, O’Donnell wrote, “You hired me to coach the candidate. I won’t make ads, write mail pieces, manage the online program or the campaign, but lets trust each other to play the roles we were hired to do…”
O’Donnell reached a plea deal with the Justice Department in September and claimed (among other things) that Bowser instructed O’Donnell to tell the Office of Congressional Ethics to “f*** themselves” when OCE began to investigate.
The Justice Department states that “Bowser allegedly attempted to obstruct the investigation by, among other things, delaying and failing to produce relevant documents; influencing the testimony of witnesses; and falsely stating that O’Donnell was solely hired to provide official services…”
While the Justice Department indictment is not yet available online, the 46-page report of the House Ethics Committee on this case is available here.