POLITICS

Former David Dewhurst Campaign Consultant Pleads Guilty To Embezzling $1.8 Million

AUSTIN, TX - JULY 01: Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst in the Senate at the Texas State capitol on July 1, 2013 in Austin, Texas. This
AUSTIN, TX - JULY 01: Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst in the Senate at the Texas State capitol on July 1, 2013 in Austin, Texas. This is first day of a second legislative special session called by Texas Gov. Rick Perry to pass an restrictive abortion law through the Texas legislature. The first attempt was defeated after opponents of the law were able to stall the vote until after first special session had ended. (Photo by Erich Schlegel/Getty Images)

By Jon Herskovitz

AUSTIN, Texas, Oct 21 (Reuters) - A political consultant hired for the failed 2012 campaign of Texas Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst for a U.S. Senate seat pleaded guilty on Tuesday to siphoning off about $1.8 million in campaign funds for his personal use, prosecutors said.

Kenneth "Buddy" Barfield was charged with embezzling campaign funds and using the money for his mortgage, tuition for his children, investments and other personal expenses, prosecutors said.

Barfield's lawyer, Gerry Morris, declined to speak to reporters after a brief hearing at a federal court in Austin, media reports said.

Barfield, 58, has been released on bond and faces up to 20 years in jail, prosecutors said. A date for his sentencing hearing has not been set yet.

"This case should serve as a reminder of the unfortunate truth that some people abuse positions of trust to enrich themselves at the expense of others, including, in this case, the taxpayers," said U.S. Attorney Robert Pitman.

Dewhurst, a Republican, lost the 2012 primary for the Senate seat to Ted Cruz, who then won the general election for the office. Dewhurst was not immediately available to comment. (Reporting by Jon Herskovitz; Editing by Sandra Maler)

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