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The campaign staff of Republican Kansas Sen. Jerry Moran said that a “cyber-criminal” had taken nearly $690,000 from his campaign funds, according to an election filing.
Moran’s campaign treasurer, Timothy Gottschalk, wrote in a Federal Election Commission filing on December 8, 2022 that money had been taken from the campaign by a “third party cyber criminal,” a claim which is now being investigated by the FBI.
“On November 14, 2022, our office was contacted by Astra Bank to notify us of potentially fraudulent activity concerning recent wire transfers to SRCP Media, Inc. After communications with staff, it was determined that two wires were sent for payment of fraudulent invoices. One wire was sent on October 25, 2022, for $345,000.00, and a second wire on November 9, 2022, for $345,000.00. For a total of $690,000.00,” Gottschalk wrote in the filing, first reported by Raw Story.
The Kansas City Star noted that Moran’s campaign purchased media time for commercials through SRCP during the election, which Moran won with 60% of the vote to Democrat challenger Mark Holland’s 37%.
According to Moran’s office, they reported the incident to the Republic County Sheriff’s Office on November 16, before the investigation was turned over to the Kansas Bureau of Investigation and the FBI.
“Cybercriminals targeted the accounting firm employed by Moran For Kansas and money was wired to fraudulent bank accounts,” said Tom Brandt, a spokesman for Moran. “As soon as a discrepancy was realized, it was reported to law enforcement.”
Gottschalk said that $168,184.03 had been recovered on November 23. “We are currently pursuing all avenues available to recover the money and there is an ongoing investigation with the FBI,” Brandt added.
The FBI told Axios that it was “aware of the incident” but could not confirm any further details.
A senator since 2010, Moran is the ranking member on the Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies for the Appropriations Committee. He is also the ranking member on the Veterans Affairs Committee.
Moran was one of the 18 Republicans in the Senate who voted to advance the Democrat’s massive $1.7 trillion omnibus budget in December.