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Chief of Staff for Former Federal Congressman Convicted for Obstructing Congressional Investigation

The chief of staff for a former member of the U.S. House of Representatives has been convicted for obstructing a congressional investigation into the alleged misappropriation of Congressional funds to pay for campaign activity, announced Acting Assistant Attorney General John P. Cronan of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division.

David G. Bowser, 45, of Arlington, Virginia, was convicted of one count of obstruction of proceedings, one count of concealment of material facts and three counts of making false statements. A sentencing date has not been set.

“David Bowser abused his position as a chief of staff on Capitol Hill to fund political campaigns with taxpayer funds, and then lied to cover up his crimes,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Cronan. “The Criminal Division is committed to preserving the public’s confidence in our government by investigating and prosecuting corrupt public officials. I commend the career prosecutors in the Public Integrity Section, as well as the dedicated agents of the FBI, for their exemplary work on this case.”

Bowser was indicted in April 2016. From 2008 until January 2015, Bowser served as the chief of staff for a then-U.S. congressman and worked on behalf of and served as a decision maker for the congressman’s political campaigns. In or about June 2012, Bowser, on behalf of the congressman’s office, hired Brett O’Donnell, a communications consultant, to assist the congressman with his messaging. Immediately upon joining the congressman’s office, O’Donnell assisted the congressman with his reelection campaign for the House of Representatives in 2012, at Bowser’s direction. From January 2013 until his termination from the congressman’s office in March 2014, O’Donnell also provided substantial services to the congressman’s Senate campaign at Bowser’s direction, including preparing for political debates, drafting and practicing campaign speeches and advising on campaign messaging, among other services. Bowser caused the congressman’s office to pay O’Donnell approximately $43,750 in congressional, taxpayer funds. Such funds must be used for official, congressional purposes, and cannot be used in furtherance of a congressman’s political campaign or to pay for any campaign-related expenses.

Bowser was convicted for obstructing a congressional ethics investigation into the payments to O’Donnell. In March 2014, the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE), a non-partisan office established in the House of Representatives to investigate allegations of misconduct, began to investigate allegations that O’Donnell was being paid with congressional funds for performing campaign-related services. During the course of OCE’s investigation, Bowser attempted to obstruct the investigation by, among other things, delaying and failing to produce relevant documents; influencing the testimony of witnesses; and falsely stating that O’Donnell was solely hired to provide official services.

On Sept. 3, 2015, O’Donnell pleaded guilty in the Middle District of Georgia to one count of making false statements in connection to this case. During O’Donnell’s interview with OCE, in which he discussed the work that he performed for Bowser and the congressman, he made several false statements in an effort to minimize and conceal his role with the campaigns.

The FBI is investigating the case. Trial Attorneys Todd Gee and Sean F. Mulryne of the Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section are prosecuting the case.