Ex-AIPAC staffer hit by scandal


WASHINGTON (JTA) – A former top fund-raiser for AIPAC has been ordered to repay $70,000 in unauthorized expenses to a previous employer, a baseball political action committee.

When news of the scandal broke July 17 in the Washington Post, Neil Alpert had already given notice that he was leaving his job as national campaign director for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the pro-Israel lobby, for a post at the Republican Jewish Coalition, sources said.

After the revelation, the RJC and Alpert “mutually agreed” that he would not take the job, said the sources, who asked not to be identified.

Alpert could not be reached and the RJC declined comment.

The Post story said the District of Columbia Office of Campaign Finance had ordered Alpert to repay $37,760 in unauthorized personal expenses, including rent, meals and nightclubs, and $31,987 in unaccounted funds. It also charged him $4,000 in fines. Unless he files an appeal, he must pay the sum or set a payment plan by Aug. 6, the newspaper said.

Alpert, 29, was chairman of the D.C. Baseball Political Action Committee, which existed until 2005, when it dissolved because its mission was fulfilled: Major League Baseball’s Montreal Expos moved to Washington and became the Nationals. Two PAC members complained to the campaign finance regulator because they noted financial irregularities.

Alpert has denied any wrongdoing, the Campaign Finance report said. Alpert said he had submitted rent expenses because his office was the PAC’s headquarters, the Post reported.

It is unclear when Alpert joined AIPAC. He was listed as AIPAC’s national campaign director in a March 2007 newsletter of the Direct Marketing Association.

“He no longer works at AIPAC,” was all a spokesman for the pro-Israel lobby would say.

According to sources, AIPAC did not want to “make things worse” for him, so when the news broke, the organization allowed him to work out the week or so he had left.

The complaint against Alpert was filed in August 2005. Sources close to AIPAC said that neither group was aware of the complaint.

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