By Spencer S. Hsu
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, December 3, 2010; 12:28 AM
A federal judge sentenced Christopher J. Ward to 37 months in prison on Thursday for stealing more than $844,000 from the National Republican Congressional Committee and other political fundraising committees for which he worked as treasurer.
"I am truly sorry for what I did and I take full responsibility," said Ward, 42, formerly of Bethesda.
"This is a serious offense. . . . You stole from small donor funds that worked to engage in political debate and the electoral process," said U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly of the District. She added, "I'm not sure what happened to you, but you clearly lost your moral compass."
Kollar-Kotelly ordered Ward to forfeit $844,718, including $812,825 in restitution, which takes into account repayments already made.
Ward, divorced from his wife and mother of their three children, ages 5 through 12, has turned over about $300,000, including proceeds from his house, and has no assets. The judge ordered him to pay back $150 a month upon release in addition to tax and child support obligations.
Ward served as treasurer for 83 GOP committees in a decade, including at the NRCC from 2003 until 2008, and admitted stealing funds for seven years before being discovered in 2008. The cash augmented an income that eventually topped $300,000 a year, paying for country club and private school tuition fees, home remodeling projects and vacation rentals. He will begin his sentence in January.