Former Crapo aide wishes he could undo ‘serious errors’

EXCERPT: (Jake) Ball, who resigned Thursday as U.S. Rep. Raul Labrador’s district director, gave the money on Sept. 22, 2008, to his friend Gavin McCaleb. He signed a promissory note for his investment company, called Blueberry Guru, to repay the loan with an 8 percent annual interest rate. Instead, the money disappeared.

“Mr. McCaleb invested the money in a less than professional manner and, without knowing it, in fraudulent enterprises with persons who absconded with the funds,” Ball said in the affidavit from March 13.

In 2008, when Crapo’s campaign was between treasurers, Ball had authority to withdraw money and make investments with his signature alone. … Campaign finance ethics experts say giving such power to a single individual isn’t typical.

“It certainly does not reflect best practices,” said Paul S. Ryan, senior counsel for the nonpartisan Campaign Legal Center in Washington, D.C. Many campaigns invest donor money, Ryan said, but “typically safe investments are chosen,” not speculative ventures in Las Vegas at a time when the global economy was in unprecedented turmoil and property foreclosures were escalating to record levels.

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