Federal Agents exit the back of a office building located at 191 Main Street in Annapolis, after investigating Strategic Campaign Group, a political fundraising firm on Thursday afternoon.
Federal Agents exit the back of a office building located at 191 Main Street in Annapolis, after investigating Strategic Campaign Group, a political fundraising firm on Thursday afternoon. (By Matthew Cole / BSMG)

About two years after raiding a political fundraising office on Main Street, federal officials say an Annapolis political consultant has pleaded guilty in connection with a scheme to solicit millions of dollars in contributions through scam political action committees.

The U.S. Department of Justice says 55-year-old Kelley Rogers of Annapolis pleaded guilty Tuesday to one count of wire fraud. Assistant U.S. Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski said in a news release that Rogers defrauded citizens across the country.

Advertisement

Prosecutors say that sometime in 2014, Rogers said donations for one PAC would be spent to support military veterans. Instead, he spent nearly all of the money raised to benefit himself, his associates and his PACs. Rogers operated multiple PACs, including Conservative StrikeForce, Conservative Majority Fund and Tea Party Majority Fund, according to the news release.

As part of his guilty plea, Rogers agreed to pay $491,299 in restitution to victims of his fraud scheme, and to forfeit $208,954 in a money judgment.

Rogers was the president of Strategic Campaign Group, an organization on Main Street in Annapolis that was raided by the FBI in May 2017. Rogers himself confirmed that about a half-dozen FBI agents arrived at his office at about 8:30 a.m. that day to search and seize records. He also said the FBI investigation was related to work done during the 2013 Virginia gubernatorial campaign of former Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, a Republican. He insisted at the time his firm did nothing wrong but would release clients from their contracts if desired.

Some Maryland Republicans had used Rogers services through Strategic Campaign Group. Both Senate Minority Leader J.B. Jennings, of Baltimore County, and House Minority Leader Nic Kipke, of Anne Arundel County, said at the time their committees will not use the firm again until its legal issues are resolved.

Kipke’s campaign committee was one of the firm’s best customers, having spent more than $30,000 on its services since 2014, according to state campaign finance records.

Baltimore Sun reporter Michael Dresser contributed to this story.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement