Former newspaper columnist and Rep. Dana Rohrabacher treasurer Jack Wu. Credit: Jack Wu

This tumultuous year has proven the essential nature of nonpartisan local news. Every day we bring you news critical to staying informed and active in the community. Join us with a tax-deductible donation.

Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (R-Huntington Beach) today accused his former campaign treasurer, Jack Wu, of embezzling more than $170,000 in campaign funds from the congressman’s campaign committee. 

Rohrabacher and his campaign committee filed criminal complaints with county and state prosecutors Wednesday against Wu, who served as treasurer until accounting discrepancies were discovered last month, according to Charles Bell, a Sacramento-based attorney who represents the congressman and his campaign committee.

“I am disappointed and dismayed by this betrayal of trust,” Rohrabacher said in a news release sent out this afternoon.

When reached by Voice of OC, Wu declined to comment.

Wu is a Newport Beach-based accountant who in recent years wrote regular columns about local politics for the Daily Pilot and Orange County Register and quizzed candidates during local Feet to the Fire forums (which featured participation by Voice of OC).

“The committee discovered the embezzlement as a result of irregularity with its committee’s bank credit card which was tied to its bank account. The committee discovered that rather than about $185,000 cash on hand, its account had $187 in late May 2015,” states the news release from Bell.

“Upon discovering this information, Mr. Wu was immediately replaced as committee treasurer and the bank account was frozen. The committee confronted Mr. Wu with these allegations and Mr. Wu admitted to taking approximately $173,500 in funds from the committee’s account. The committee also demanded immediate, full restitution, and Mr. Wu promised to do so, but as of this date has failed to do so.”

The activity at issue took place in 2014 and 2015, Bell said, but it’s unclear if other financial improprieties took place before that.

“We don’t know if there’s more there, but obviously a thorough investigation” will help determine that, Bell said Wednesday afternoon.

The committee is now auditing its financial records going back to when Wu first became treasurer about seven years ago.

You can contact Nick Gerda at ngerda@gmail.com, and follow him on Twitter: @nicholasgerda.

Join the conversation: In lieu of comments, we encourage readers to engage with us across a variety of mediums. Join our Facebook discussion. Message us via our website or staff page. Send us a secure tip. Share your thoughts in a community opinion piece.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.