- Feb 6, 2014
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — A Rhode Islander recently released from prison has been identified as the previously unidentified congressional candidate who received hacked information from Russian operatives during the 2016 campaign.
Documents newly posted to the Federal Election Commission website show Republican H. Russell Taub acknowledged sending a Twitter message to the account “Guccifer 2.0” seeking assistance in his unsuccessful bid to unseat Democratic Congressman David Cicilline that year.
Robert S. Mueller, the special counsel who investigated Russian interference in the 2016 election, identified Guccifer 2.0 as a handle used by Russian operatives associated with the GRU, a Russian spy agency, to distribute hacked material on prominent Democrats. Mueller’s team later revealed in an indictment that an unnamed candidate for Congress had sought assistance from Guccifer, but did not identify the individual as Taub.
Taub, 33, previously pleaded guilty in 2019 to charges that he misused more than $1 million in political donations. He was sentenced to three years in prison and was released last month, according to the Federal Bureau of Prisons website.
The new documents show Taub has signed an enforcement document with the FEC, known as a conciliation agreement, acknowledging that he contacted Guccifer seeking help. The commission declined to levy a civil penalty against Taub, citing the fact that he is “currently obligated to pay substantial restitution” from his other federal fundraising prosecution “and has limited or no assets.”
According to a summary of the investigation compiled by Commissioners Shana Broussard and Ellen Weintraub, the FEC “obtained records of a Twitter message exchange from August 2016 in which Taub asked an account operated by Guccifer 2.0 for a list of Republican donors in order to defeat his opponent, explaining ‘if I had the resources I can win.'”
FEC investigators found that Guccifer 2.0 replied to Taub, “it seems i have a dossier on cicilline . . . I can send u a dossier via email.”
Two days after that exchange, Guccifer 2.0 used the encrypted messaging service ProtonMail to send Taub 10 documents, including “three professionally produced opposition research reports, polling data, news articles, and one of Cicilline’s U.S. House of Representatives Financial Disclosure Statements,” according to the FEC’s agreement with Taub.
The FEC documents don’t cite the specific source of the information related to Cicilline that the Russian operatives had obtained. But one of the GRU’s hacking targets was the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which assists House Democrats with election activities......