A prominent Republican consultant and debate coach pleaded guilty Thursday to making false statements during an investigation by the Office of Congressional Ethics.
Brett O’Donnell, of Virginia-based O’Donnell & Associates, pleaded guilty to an information -- a charging document used in lieu of an indictment -- in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Georgia.
The document alleges that the OCE launched an investigation in March 2014 into whether a congressman’s office had improperly used congressionally appropriated funds to pay O’Donnell for campaign-related services.
It’s illegal to use such funds to pay for political campaign-related bills, according to a document in the court record.
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The court documents don’t identify the congressman, other than to call him “Congressman A.”
When interviewed by OCE on June 23, 2014, O’Donnell made several false statements to “minimize and conceal” the nature and scope of his role in the congressman’s campaign and his interactions with the congressman’s chief of staff, according to the court documents.
A report released last year by the OCE included allegations that U.S. Rep. Paul Broun’s office had paid O’Donnell’s firm $43,750 between June 2012 and March 2014.
Allegations surfaced that O’Donnell was paid from Broun’s official congressional allowance for help with his campaigns.
Broun represented Georgia’s 10th Congressional District from 2007 to 2015. He unsuccessfully ran for U.S. Senate last year to fill the seat vacated by Republican Sen. Saxby Chambliss.
His district included Baldwin, Hancock, Putnam and Washington counties in a swath north and east of Macon, stretching to Athens and nearly to Augusta.
A phone message left for O’Donnell’s attorney wasn’t immediately returned Friday.
O’Donnell is a former chief strategist for Michelle Bachmann’s failed 2012 presidential campaign. Other clients have included Gov. Mitt Romney, John McCain and the George W. Bush-Dick Cheney presidential campaign, according to his company’s website.
Information from McClatchy’s Washington Bureau was used in this report. To contact writer Amy Leigh Womack, call 744-4398 or find her on Twitter@awomackmacon.