The sentence handed down Friday to Scott B. Mackenzie was lighter than the three years in federal prison that co-conspirator Kelley Rogers, a Maryland-based GOP consultant, received last month.
In addition to the one year and a day in federal prison, U.S. District Judge Liam O’Grady ordered Mackenzie, 66, to pay $172,000 in restitution and be under supervised release for two years. The government had sought a 30-month prison sentence for Mackenzie, who requested no more than 6 months.
Last October, longtime scam PAC treasurer Mackenzie pleaded guilty to one count of lying to the FEC about approximately $32,500 in payments of PAC money that he directed to himself and a close friend.
In court filings, the feds noted that Rogers’ firm, Strategic Campaign Group, “managed and operated” many of the 52 scam PACs that Mackenzie was treasurer for, including Conservative StrikeForce, Conservative Majority Fund, Tea Party Majority Fund and others. The dates noted in the charging documents run from 2011 to 2018.
More details on the case are available here.
Mackenzie will do his time at Federal Correctional Institution, Cumberland, the same prison where Rogers will serve his sentence. One of the conditions of his supervised release is that he cannot serve as a treasurer.
The pre-sentencing report includes photos of some of the scam PAC solicitations, including one that purported to come from Amb. John Bolton asking for funds for the Conservative Strikeforce PAC.
Still, the pre-sentencing filing from Andrea Moseley, Mackenzie’s lawyer, revealed details about his personal history, including his service in the military and his health troubles.
“He is a 66-year old grandfather of eight with his ninth due in August. Mr. Mackenzie and his wife have lived in the same house in Arlington, VA for the last 35 years … He has six children,” the report states. “Throughout his career, Mr. Mackenzie has financially supported all of his children and his wife.”
His crime didn’t pay, according to his attorney. “Mr. Mackenzie’s personal profit from his conduct was either minimal or nonexistent. … Mackenzie earned approximately $72,000 a year over an eight-year period between 2011 and 2018.”
Moseley also noted that given his age, he is “extremely unlikely to recidivate.”
In letters of support, MacKenzie was called a “nice guy.”
“I met Scott in 1995 when we worked on a campaign together, and I can honestly swear that in all the years since then, I have never met a nicer guy than Scott,” wrote GOP consultant Stephen Marks. “Scott is a special person and one of the "good guys" In Washington, and it's been an honor for me to have had Scott as a friend.”
Broadcaster and former congressional candidate Bill Spadea called the defendant a “good guy.”
“We became friends through the intensity of working on the presidential campaign of Pat Buchanan in 1996,” he wrote. “Since that time we’ve stayed in touch and worked together professionally. In 2004 I didn’t hesitate to hire him as my campaign treasurer when I ran for the U.S. House in New Jersey.”
Former New Hampshire Sen. Bob Smith (R) also praised his abilities as a campaign treasurer. “He was highly respected in his field and was sought after by many new congressmen to help with their reporting requirements,” Smith wrote.
The government painted a different picture of a political practitioner, albeit a disorganized one, trying to cover up his crimes. Prosecutors said that he lied to the FBI in May 2017 during their investigation, but didn’t charge him with that offense instead choosing to zero in on his work as a PAC treasurer.
“Without a doubt, this scam PAC scheme was complicated, complex and sophisticated. Its success relied on the special skills of the defendant who had 40 years of experience as a PAC treasurer and knowledge of the applicable rules and regulations governing PACs,” prosecutors wrote. “The defendant played a crucial role in Kelley Rogers’ scam PAC scheme which targeted thousands of small donors interested in supporting political candidates for public office via mass marketing. … Rogers and the defendant both stole money donated to the PACs and used the funds in whatever way suited them.”
According to MacKenzie’s attorney, he plans to return to work after his release. “The new debt of $172, 200 in restitution weighs heavily on his mind and he would like to become employed as soon as possible to begin the repayment of his obligation,” Moseley wrote.