Operator of Multiple PACs, Tyler D. Whitney Pleads Guilty to False Reporting to FEC
(STL.News) The former owner and operator of seven political action committees (PACs) pleaded guilty today to making a false statement in connection with PAC expenses reported to the Federal Election Commission (FEC).
According to court documents, Tyler D. Whitney, 33, of Austin, Texas, formed and operated the PACs beginning in mid-2012. Whitney also owned and operated Amagi Strategies, a consulting corporation, and Amagi Imports, an affiliated business. Between 2012 and 2018, Whitney operated each of the PACs by creating and managing a PAC-related website; purchasing email lists of potential contributors; utilizing vendors that provided blast email services to send mass emails to potential contributors; using urgent language in email solicitations to potential donors for contributions; and representing to potential donors that contributions would be used to support or oppose a particular candidate or cause via “voter outreach” and “advertising.”
During this time, Whitney spent a small portion of the donated funds to benefit the political candidates or causes the PACs represented they were going to support or oppose. He also transferred a large portion of the donated funds from the PACs to his consulting company, Amagi Strategies, or withdrew the money as cash.
Whitney used funds in bank accounts for Amagi Strategies to either pay himself, pay for personal expenses, or pay for services (such as website management, email list purchases or rentals, and blast email services) to raise additional funds via email solicitations. Whitney filed and caused to be filed FEC reports that, among other things, were false as to amounts, dates, and descriptions of expenditures and disbursements by the PACs, including payments made to Amagi Imports.
For instance, in July 2016, Whitney transferred $10,000 from one of his PACs to Amagi Strategies. On the same day, Whitney transferred $9,000 from Amagi Strategies to Amagi Imports and then $8,787.73 from Amagi Imports to an international shipping company. Whitney’s PAC did not report this $10,000 payment on its FEC reports for 2016 and 2017. However, in January 2018, Whitney caused the PAC’s treasurer to file an amended FEC quarterly report for the PAC that falsely disclosed the $10,000 payment as “PAC Management Fees.”
Whitney pleaded guilty to making a false statement. He is scheduled to be sentenced on Aug. 26 and faces up to five years in prison. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite, Jr. of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Jessica D. Aber for the Eastern District of Virginia, and Assistant Director in Charge Steven M. D’Antuono of the FBI Washington Field Office made the announcement.
The FBI Washington Field Office investigated the case.
Senior Litigation Counsel Edward P. Sullivan of the Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Kimberly R. Pedersen for the Eastern District of Virginia are prosecuting the case.