Arkansas Dem Josh Mahony Hires Avenatti PAC's Former Treasurer

Avenatti now facing charges of extortion, tax evasion, embezzlement, and more

Michael Avenatti, Josh Mahony
Michael Avenatti, Josh Mahony / Getty Images,
April 29, 2019

Arkansas Democrat Josh Mahony, who hopes to challenge incumbent Sen. Tom Cotton (R), has hired a former treasurer for attorney Michael Avenatti's PAC.

Federal Election Commission documents show Amy Gray as the treasurer for the Mahony campaign, and other filings list her as the treasurer for Avenatti's political action committee, "The Fight," which he launched in August 2018.

Gray also served as a treasurer for the Ready for Hillary PAC, which later changed its name to Ready PAC.

The Washington Free Beacon reported last month that Avenatti appeared to use the PAC as a personal slush fund, reimbursing himself just under $32,000 for food, drink, hotels and transportation in one quarter alone.

Since being feted as a threatening potential challenger to Trump in the late summer and fall of 2018, Avenatti has experienced a vertiginous fall.

Stormy Daniels, the client who helped rocket Avenatti to political notoriety, dropped him as her counsel in March, although some media reports cast doubt as to which person had terminated the relationship.

Weeks later, federal prosecutors announced extortion charges against Avenatti, claiming he had tried to wring $25 million from Nike in exchange for not making public allegations that the company had paid bribes to some college athletes and their families.

Then earlier this month, a Santa Ana grand jury handed up 36 indictments against Avenatti, alleging a vast array of criminal behavior including tax evasion, embezzlement, and more.

"Michael Avenatti allegedly stole from his clients, and he stole from the IRS," said Ryan L. Korner, the chief of Internal Revenue Service criminal investigations in Los Angeles, according to the L.A. Times. "The money was used to fuel a lavish lifestyle that had no limits, including making mortgage payments on a multimillion-dollar home in Laguna Beach and purchasing a private plane."

The Times article said Avenatti faced 335 years in prison if convicted on all counts put forward by the California grand jury.

Mahony ran for Arkansas' 3rd Congressional District in 2018, and was defeated by Republican Steve Womack.

Cotton defeated incumbent Democrat Mark Pryor in 2014 by a 56-39 margin, and has just under $3 million cash on hand already for the upcoming campaign according to recent filings.                     

Arkansas also went heavily for the president in 2016, giving Trump 60 percent of its votes.

When reached by phone, Gray directed all questions to the Mahoney campaign. Those emailed requests for comment were not returned.