The top lawyer for the state Senate Republicans was fired on Monday, Dec. 3 after campaign money was discovered missing from one of the GOP's political action committees.
Senate Republican leader Len Fasano told Capitol reporters that he fired Chief Counsel Michael Cronin after the lawyer admitted misappropriating tens of thousands of dollars from a Senate GOP caucus PAC that Cronin oversaw as treasurer this year.
Cronin reported the theft to Chief State’s Attorney Kevin Kane, whose office opened a criminal investigation.
Cronin, a legislative lawyer for nearly two decades, also served as treasurer of the Senate Republican Leadership Committee.
Fasano said he confronted Cronin on Friday about a bounced check and complaints from vendors about unpaid bills.
Fasano said Cronin has promised restitution and the bills will be paid.
“It hurts. It hurts the whole caucus," Fasano told reporters.
Attorney Ross Garber issued a statement that said: “Mike (Cronin) has taken full responsibility for these issues. . . . He is cooperating with authorities and is committed to ensuring that all donor funds are accounted for and fully restored.”
Cronin was paid $149,000 last year and promoted to chief counsel on Aug. 7. His current annual salary was $175,000.
As of Oct. 28, the state Senate GOP's Political Action Committee reported raising $130,167 and spending $113,265 on this year's Senate Republican campaigns.
Democrats will have a 23-13 majority in the state Senate when the next session opens on Jan. 9, 2019.
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