An administrative assistant for convicted Ponzi schemer Scott Rothstein's law firm pleaded guilty Friday to violations of federal election law. Prosecutors say 42-year-old Marybeth Feiss was integral in Rothstein Rosenfeldt Adler's political power plays, helping Rothstein use part of his $1.2 billion scheme to buy influence in prominent Republican circles by illegally bundling campaign contributions from firm associates.
Rothstein's colleagues would cut checks to politicians and then get reimbursed with money "disguised as bonuses," according to the South Florida Business Journal. Feiss helped organize the laundering scheme.
Rothstein "raised" so much for the McCain-Palin ticket in 2008 that he...
...was invited to the Republican National Convention and is credited with playing a role in then-Gov. Charlie Crist's presence on McCain's "short list" of vice presidential possibilities. McCain and Rothstein were reportedly in each other's cell phones too, though McCain probably takes forever to write a text message.
It's interesting to note that Feiss, who sounds like she was essentially keeping track of other people's checks, is up against as much jail time as Bill Boockvoor, Rothstein's uncle, who pleaded guilty two weeks ago for his involvement in stealing $350 million in a scheme that involved fake legal settlements and forged bank documents. Must have known a great lawyer.
Feiss is just one of many dominoes still left to fall in the Rothstein case, and she's helping knock some more down: Her lawyer told the Sun-Sentinel that "she has been cooperating with the government."
Rothstein, up against a 50-year prison sentence, is going to keep cooperating too -- a second ten-day deposition is scheduled to start June 4; the first round featured allegations of political intrigue, a $60,000-per-month hooker budget, and "a lot of marijuana smoking," so who knows what Rothstein has had time to remember (or dream up) in the months since.
(We've also got the transcripts of his original deposition, in case you forgot what he said. His cooperation thus far has been explosive enough to warrant his placement in a witness protection program.)