KANSAS CITY, KAN. Former congressional candidate Adam Taff was sentenced Monday to 15 months in federal prison for using campaign funds to help get a loan for a $1.2 million home.
Taff, 40, of Lake Quivira, had sought a 12-month sentence split evenly between a halfway house and house arrest, after pleading guilty in November to one count of wire fraud and one count of violating the Federal Election Campaign Act.
Taff's co-defendant, John D. Myers, 51, of Leawood, was sentenced to five months in prison and a $50,000 fine on one count of wire fraud.
Taff, a moderate Republican, narrowly lost the 2004 primary for the GOP nomination in the 3rd District to conservative Kris Kobach. In 2002, when he was the Republican nominee, he lost to Democratic Rep. Dennis Moore in a tight race.
Prosecutors said Taff obtained a $300,000 bank check from campaign funds on Feb. 10, 2004, and he and Myers misrepresented the money as a down payment on a house in suburban Kansas City to help the candidate get a mortgage. In seeking to downplay what happened, Taff argued the check drawn from campaign accounts was returned within an hour and was never negotiated.
But Assistant U.S. Atty. Leon Patton argued in a presentencing memorandum that the crime was thought out because Taff did not have the personal funds to make the down payment when he agreed to buy the house in December 2003.
"Although it is correct that there was no financial loss, there was a greater loss than mere money," Patton wrote. "Mr. Taff caused a loss of trust and faith in our system of representative government."
Myers sold the house in Lake Quivira to Taff for $1.2 million. At the time, Taff worked for National Mortgage Co. Inc. Myers, who founded the company, was its chairman.
Because Taff had loaned his campaign about $125,000, he was accused of converting only $175,000 for his personal use.
The indictment also alleged that Taff falsely represented his campaign accounts as his personal holdings, and that he claimed more than double his actual monthly income of $6,500.
Because of the case Taff, a former Navy fighter pilot, can no longer obtain the proper security and other clearances, meaning his flying career for both the military and commercial airlines is essentially over. He also could lose his military pension.
Jim Eisenbrandt, an attorney for Taff, declined comment.