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Press Release

Former Campaign Coordinator Sentenced to Federal Prison for Embezzling Millions of Dollars from Former Texas Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst’s Campaign Accounts

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Texas

In Austin today, 58-year-old political consultant Kenneth Barfield (aka “Buddy Barfield”) was sentenced to 87 months in federal prison for stealing more than $2.5 Million in campaign funds from former Texas Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst announced Acting United States Attorney Richard L. Durbin, Jr., Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Special Agent in Charge Christopher Combs, San Antonio Division, and IRS-Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI) Special Agent in Charge William Cotter.

In addition to the prison term, United States District Judge Sam Sparks ordered that Barfield pay $2,513,778 restitution to the Barfield Litigation Trust Settlement and be placed on supervised release for a period of three years after completing his prison term.  Barfield also owes the Internal Revenue Service $427,073 in back taxes.  Judge Sparks allowed Barfield to remain on bond pending Bureau of Prisons facility designation.

On October 21, 2014, Barfield pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud, one count of making a false tax return and one count of embezzlement of federal campaign funds.  According to court documents, Barfield, and through his Austin-based companies, was a member of the campaign staff and committee for Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst’s run for the Republican nomination for United States Senate in 2012.  Barfield and his companies were responsible for securing, paying, and/or subcontracting legal and legitimate activities on behalf of Dewhurst’s campaign and had a fiduciary duty to act in the best interests of the campaign, including oversight and maintenance of financial records.

By pleading guilty to the charges, Barfield admitted to knowingly engaging in a scheme to steal campaign funds and use it for his own personal expenses including his home mortgage, school tuition for his children, personal investments and other living expenses.  Barfield further admitted that on his 2008 Income Tax return, he knowingly stated that his Taxable Income was zero when, in fact, his Taxable Income should have been reported as approximately $582,000.  Barfield also admitted that under his direction, fraudulent documentation was submitted in disclosure reports to the Federal Elections Commission (FEC) regarding expenditures for campaign disbursements.

“The victim in this case, a campaign fund, was out of the ordinary. But the crime, a brazen theft, was straightforward. Barfield stole a lot of money. The Court's sentence properly holds him responsible for his misdeeds,” stated Acting United States Attorney Richard L. Durbin, Jr.

“Today's sentencing is an important victory for the American taxpayer.  For those who abuse their position of public trust and engage in fraud of this magnitude and complexity, as in the case of Mr. Barfield, there are serious consequences,” stated William Cotter, Special Agent in Charge, IRS Criminal Investigation.  “This sentence should serve as a deterrent to anyone contemplating similar theft from the hard working public for their own greedy benefit. IRS Criminal Investigation remains determined and vigilant in ferreting out such nefarious schemes to defraud the citizens of this great county.”

“Whenever an individual utilizes their position to defraud the public for their own personal gain by stealing campaign contributions, it tarnishes our political process.  The FBI is committed to working with our law enforcement partners to ensure those who choose to line their pockets with public funds and abuse their positions of trust are held accountable,” stated FBI Special Agent in Charge Christopher Combs.

This case was investigated by special agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation together with the Travis County District Attorney’s Special Prosecution Division.  Assistant United States Attorneys Dan Guess and Ashley Hoff prosecuted this case on behalf of the Government.

Updated February 4, 2016