INDIANAPOLIS — A former state senator from Greenwood could serve up to 10 years in prison after admitting in court to campaign finance violations and lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation two years after the federal agents raided his condominium.
On Monday, Brent Waltz, 48, pleaded guilty in federal court to two felony charges: making and receiving conduit contributions and making false statements to the FBI. He faces up to five years in prison for each of the charges.
The charges stem from Waltz’s 2016 U.S. congressional campaign when the former state senator ran in the 2016 Republican primary for the U.S. House of Representatives Ninth District. Waltz, along with a 71-year-old gaming executive John S. Keeler, were accused and charged in 2020 of being part of a “straw donors” plot that violated federal campaign finance law.
Previously, authorities said Keeler, vice president of New Centaur LLC, arranged to transfer thousands of dollars to Kelley Rogers, a political consultant for Waltz, who then contributed money to Waltz’s campaign.
Federal prosecutors said Keeler and Rogers concealed the contributions by creating phony invoices and agreements that appeared to be for services performed for New Centaur. Rogers recruited several “straw donors,” who contributed $2,700 to the campaign—the maximum individual contribution permitted under federal law at the time.
Waltz was one of the straw donors, according to court documents. Others were friends and associates of Rogers.
Rogers then used the money Keeler and New Centaur provided to reimburse the donors. A large portion of the money also went to Waltz, federal prosecutors said, who recruited more “straw donors” and used the money to reimburse them or pay them in advance.
Waltz’s straw donors included relatives and business associates.
Waltz and Keeler concealed the contributions from campaign officials, federal prosecutors said, causing them to unwittingly file materially false reports with the Federal Election Commission.
The FBI raided Waltz Greenwood condo in late September of 2020. His charges, along with Keelers, were announced soon after.
After pleading guilty on Monday, Waltz is scheduled to be sentenced by the U.S. District Court at a later date.
The U.S. Department of Justice said Keeper’s trial in connection to this case is scheduled to begin on April 18.