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Former GOP operative sentenced for funneling Super PAC contributions

Tyler Harber, a former GOP operative, was sentenced to two years in federal prison on FridayTyler Harber, a former GOP operative, was sentenced to two years in federal prison on Friday

— A former political operative was sentenced to 24 months in federal prison on Friday stemming from his role in helping coordinate political contributions from a super PAC to a congressional campaign committee, in the first federal sentence of its kind.

Tyler Harber, a former Republican political consultant, was sentenced to two years in federal prison on Friday in the Eastern District of Virginia for funneling a sum of $325,000 from a Political Action Committee to the campaign of Chris Perkins, a Virginia republican. In 2012, Perkins ran against Rep. Gerald Connolly for a congressional seat in the state’s 11th district. At the time, Harber served as a campaign manager for Perkins while simultaneously working for a Super PAC that spent more than $300,000 on negative advertisements against Perkins’ opponent.

“The significant prison sentence imposed on Tyler Harber should cause other political operatives to think twice about circumventing laws that promote transparency in federal elections,” Assistant Attorney General Leslie Caldwell said in a statement. “As the first conviction for illegal campaign coordination, this case stands as an important step forward in the criminal enforcement of federal campaign finance laws. Illegal campaign coordination can be difficult to detect, which is why we strongly encourage party or campaign insiders to come forward and blow the whistle.”

Harber, 34, previously pleaded guilty to one count of coordinated federal election contributions and one count of making false statements to the FBI.

“Campaign finance laws exist to guard against illegal activity such as coordinated campaign contributions,” U.S. Attorney Dana Boente said in a statement. “The citizens of the commonwealth of Virginia can rely on this office enforce federal campaign finance law.”

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