Disgraced Congressman’s Aide Charged
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The top aide of a veteran Republican congressman already being investigated for corruption has been charged with falsifying congressional financial disclosure reports to conceal money his wife received for “consulting” work.
Federal prosecutors say that the chief of staff to Pennsylvania Representative Curt Weldon, who lost a bid for an 11th House term last year amid a corruption probe, changed the disclosure reports to cover up nearly $20,000 in income that his wife made for doing limited work at a consulting firm tied to Weldon’s family.
The aide, Russell Caso, also lobbied high-level Bush Administration officials for federal funding for projects that his wife was working on, mainly involving U.S. companies seeking business in Russia. Not coincidentally, Congressman Weldon also pushed for the same projects as a senior member of the powerful House Armed Services and Homeland Security committees.
A fixture in the House for two decades, Weldon lost his 2006 reelection bid after the FBI announced it was investigating the lawmaker for using his influence to secure lucrative consulting and lobbying contracts for his daughter, an inexperienced 29-year-old lobbyist from suburban Philadelphia.
Federal authorities say that Karen Weldon’s tiny firm, Solutions North America, received major international contracts from foreign firms worth $1 million thanks to her father, who at the time was considered a leading voice in Washington on former Eastern Bloc affairs.