A Democratic lawmaker who sat on an ethics panel was arrested by the FBI and IRS on Tuesday for using campaign funds to finance his gambling debts, the Washington Examiner reported.
Massachusetts State Rep. David Nangle (D) has resigned from his committee posts after getting slapped with corruption charges for treating a campaign account like a slush fund for his personal expenses.
Arrested for corruption
In spite of his $100,000 salary, Nangle is alleged to have racked up large debts from gambling in casinos all over New England, and then using campaign money to pay them off, ABC News reported. He also reportedly used the funds to illicitly rent cars for his gambling misadventures and pay for a golf club membership, flowers for his girlfriend, and other expenses.
“Time after time, he allegedly used campaign funds to pay for personal expenses, spending thousands of dollars on golf club fees, gas, gift cards, hotels, restaurants, flowers and rental cars for trips to casinos, some of which he had already been reimbursed for by taxpayers,” the FBI’s Joseph Bonavolonta said, according to the Examiner.
To cover his tracks, Nangle allegedly blamed his ex-wife for his bad credit while applying for bank loans. He is also accused of filing phony tax returns with the help of a part-time state employee who he pressured.
“Despite his salary and perks, Nangle was heavily in debt, had poor credit, and had regular cash flow problems as a result of extensive gambling at various casinos in Connecticut, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island, among others — placing thousands of bets on internet gambling sites,” the indictment against Nangle read, according to ABC.
The long-time representative was taken into custody Tuesday and charged with bank fraud, wire fraud, filing false tax returns, and lying to a bank. He pleaded not guilty to all 28 federal counts, according to The New York Times.
Nangle, who represents the areas of Lowell and Chelmsford, has been in office since 1999. According to prosecutors, he was able to collect hundreds of thousands of dollars because he has run unopposed since 2013.
Following his Tuesday indictment, the Democrat resigned from his committee assignments to the state House Committee on Ethics, the House Committee on Rules, and the Joint Committee on Rules on Wednesday, citing “recent, unfortunate events,” according to the Boston Globe. In the meantime, the governor of Massachusetts, Charlie Baker, has emphasized that Nangle is entitled to the presumption of innocence while welcoming the news of his resignation.
“The charges are serious and as I said yesterday, I expect him to be fully investigated. I did hear earlier that Rep. Nangle had stepped down from his committee positions and his leadership positions and I think that’s appropriate,” Baker said, according to Boston 25 News.
Nangle is still a legislator, however. For now, the Democrat is out on bail and has been ordered to give up his passport and his gambling habit.
“David Nangle is a good man who has proudly served his district as a state representative,” Nangle’s attorney, William Connolly, said in a statement. “The charges against David are nothing more than allegations. We will fight these charges in court.”