To steal the money, the unknown perpetrator used "a forged image of a BIPAC check and not an actual check used for business purposes," BIPAC told federal regulators.
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BIPAC President and CEO Tim Riordan on Wednesday told Raw Story that his organization quickly contacted three law enforcement agencies — the FBI, the Washington Metropolitan Police Department and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service — to report the crime. A Washington Police incident report indicates an investigation is "pending."
BIPAC wasn't without its money for long, as its bank reimbursed the committee for the money lost, Riordan confirmed. But no money has been recovered from the thief, who remains at large.
At the time of the thefts, BIPAC did not have in place a "positive pay" system to deter check fraud. Such a system, used by financial institutions, flags suspicious checks for further review — often at a small cost to the check issuer.
Since the theft, BIPAC has instituted a positive pay system, Riordan urged BIPAC associates to do the same.
Defending against political committee theft "requires a level of diligence," he said. "It needs to be paid attention to. It's happening more."
A bipartisan PAC, BIPAC is affiliated with dozens of different corporate entities across the country. Recent donors to BIPAC include executives or PACs associated with International Paper Company, Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company, Halliburton Company, Rolls Royce North America, General Atomics and the American Rental Association, according to federal records. Its website also lists eBay, Volvo Group North America and Phillips 66 among its associated companies.
In turn, BIPAC made four-figure contributions to two-dozen federal-level political candidates during the 2021-2022 election cycle, including Sen. Katie Britt (R-AL) and Reps. Henry Cuellar (D-TX), Michael Guest (R-MS) and Sharice Davids (D-KS), per federal records.
It reported having $23,405 cash on hand as of Feb. 28, according to a filing with the FEC.
Epidemic of political committee fraud
Raw Story in recent weeks has identified several current and former Republican members of Congress who’ve been victimized by fraudsters in what’s fast becoming open season on politicians’ campaign accounts.
Money losers include Sen. Jerry Moran of Kansas ($690,000), Rep. Troy Nehls of Texas ($157,626), former Rep. John Katko of New York ($14,000), Rep. Neal Dunn of Florida ($10,855), Rep. Russell Fry of South Carolina ($2,607.98) and Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida ($362.04).
The Republican National Committee and Rep. Diana Harshbarger (R-TN) also experienced recent campaign cash thefts.
The problem isn’t unique to Republicans, either: President Joe Biden’s 2020 Democratic presidential campaign committee lost at least $71,000.
One-time Democratic presidential candidate and congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard and rapper-turned-2020 presidential candidate Ye, formerly Kanye West, are among others who reported money stolen from their political accounts.
Recently, the federal PAC of State Farm Insurance lost $12,220 to thieves, Raw Story first reported.
The McKesson Corporation, a pharmaceutical and medical supplies company, informed the FEC that it, too, had fallen victim to someone who "created, forged and cashed a fictitious PAC check for $12,000" on Nov. 7.
The McKesson Company Employees Political Fund notified its bank "immediately upon discovery of the fraudulent activity" and attempted to secure return of the lost funds.
"To date," the committee added, "the bank has not returned the stolen funds."
The political action committees of Google, National Association of Manufacturers, Consumer Technology Association, National Association of Home Builders, National Air Traffic Controllers Association, International Brotherhood of Teamsters, MoveOn.org, and law firms Akerman LLP and Blank Rome LLP have also experienced theft of various kinds, be it cyber theft, forgeries or check tampering, according to Insider.