Aide To Ex-Congressman Pleads Guilty To Theft
WASHINGTON (AP) _ A longtime aide to a former California congressman pleaded guilty Tuesday to theft, admitting he billed the government for $19,000 in travel expenses and other costs in 1992, while actually campaigning for the congressman’s son.
Jeremiah Bresnahan, who was administrative assistant to former Rep. Glenn Anderson, D-Calif., agreed to cooperate fully with prosecutors in an investigation into whether others in Anderson’s office, including the congressman’s wife, might also have committed a crime.
Anderson, who served in Congress for 24 years, did not seek re-election last year after his Long Beach district was redrawn. But his stepson, Evan Anderson Braude, made an unsuccessful bid to succeed him.
Attempts to obtain a telephone number for Anderson on Tuesday night were unsuccessful.
Bresnahan, 63, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to charges that ″at the direction of another″ he made a number of trips to California between May and November of 1992 to campaign for Braude and that he directed other members of Anderson’s staff to do the same.
He later ″made it appear ... that (he and the others) were conducting official business″ and billed the House of Representatives for expenses they incurred, the Justice Department charged.
The complaint said more than $19,000 in expenses and salaries were illegally charged to the government.
There was no indication in the court documents that Anderson himself was involved, nor that the congressman might be a focus of the continuing investigation.
But according to documents submitted to the court as part of the plea arrangement, Bresnahan has told prosecutors that Lee Anderson, the congressman’s wife, on two occasions directed that Bresnahan and other staff members travel to California. The first was just before Braude’s primary election and the second shortly before the general election.
The document said that ″at all times it was clear to Mr. Bresnahan that Mrs. Anderson wanted him and other staffers to campaign for the election of Congressman Anderson’s stepson.″
The government said that Mrs. Anderson, although not on the congressional payroll, played an active role in the daily operation of Anderson’s office. While spending most of her time in California, she was in daily telephone contact with Bresnahan, according to prosecutors.
While in California during the 1992 trips, Bresnahan scheduled events that appeared to be legitimate congressional business, but ″participated in these activities as a pretext to cover the true purpose of the trip″ which was to campaign for Anderson’s stepson.
For theft of government property and services, Bresnahan could face a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. U.S. District Judge Thomas F. Hogan postponed sentencing. Under the plea agreement the government agreed to recommend a reduced sentence if Bresnahan cooperates in the further investigation.