Operator of Multiple PACs Pleads Guilty to False Reporting to FEC
ALEXANDRIA, Va. – 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 e-mail lists of potential contributors; utilizing vendors that provided blast e-mail services to send mass emails to potential contributors; used urgent language in e-mail solicitations to potential donors for to solicit 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, e-mail list purchases or rentals, and blast e-mail services to raise additional funds via e-mail 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.
U.S. Attorney Jessica D. Aber for the Eastern District of Virginia; Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite, Jr. of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division; and Assistant Director in Charge Steven M. D’Antuono of the FBI’s Washington Field Office made the announcement after U.S. District Judge Anthony J. Trenga accepted the plea.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Kimberly R. Pedersen and Senior Litigation Counsel Edward P. Sullivan of the Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section are prosecuting the case.
A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Related court documents and information are located on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 1:22-cr-73.