There are a number of ways for those working in politics to be paid, and one of those ways is through campaign funds donated to those running for office.
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Up until now, it has been legal for those running for federal office to pay family members with campaign funds.
These payments have been legally happening not only in initial campaigns but continuously after the candidate is elected, arguably since the candidate is perpetually campaigning for the next election in order to stay seated.
There have been a number of Democrats who are using this loophole to pad the family fortune.
House Majority Whip James Clyburn, a Democrat from South Carolina, has paid his grandson $21,000 in campaign funds since April 1.
“Clyburn paid Walter A.C. Reed, the son of his daughter Jennifer Clyburn Reed and son-in-law Walter A. Reed, $21,000 during the Federal Election Commission’s (FEC) second fundraising quarter, the third-ranking House Democrat’s FEC filings show.
Reed, a salaried employee of the Clyburn campaign, has been paid $58,500 by the Friends of Jim Clyburn campaign committee since October 2021. Friends of Jim Clyburn also paid $7,500 in rent to 49 Magnolia Blossom LLC, a corporate entity controlled by Jennifer Clyburn Reed and Walter A. Reed,” the Daily Caller reported.
Connecticut Democratic Rep. Jahana Hayes has also been paying her family tens of thousands of dollars with campaign funds since entering Congress. During the second quarter of this year, Hayes paid her son David Crenshaw $1,245.65 from her campaign fund. Since entering Congress, she has paid her son $18,283.08.
NEW: Rep. Jahana Hayes Still Using Campaign Funds To Pay Family, FEC Records Show
Read more here first: https://t.co/ufsRH1gRz5
— Henry Rodgers (@henryrodgersdc) July 18, 2022
Democratic Rep. Conor Lamb doled out nearly $100,000 in campaign cash to his brother to help lead his failed Pennsylvania Senate effort.
Rep. Conor Lamb paid brother nearly $100K from Senate run one strategist called 'one of the worst campaigns' ever seenhttps://t.co/189sii7K1V
— Fox News (@FoxNews) May 20, 2022
Not to be outdone is California Democrat Rep. Maxine Waters, who has paid her daughter over $1.2 million in total over the last decade.
Waters has surpassed her colleagues in using the legality to pad the pockets of family.
“Maxine Waters [paid] $1.1 million to her daughter from campaign funds,” Fallon told The Post in a statement. “Ilhan Omar, $2.9 million to her husband from campaign funds. James Clyburn, over $200,000 to multiple family members from his campaign.”
Waters paid her daughter another $24,000 in campaign cash during the most recent quarter.
Last year, Waters funneled more than $1 million from her various campaigns to her daughter Karen Waters.
Karen Waters was paid by the campaign committee “Citizens for Waters” for “slate mailer management” fees, the Post reported.
Although this seems unethical, and Democrats have been called out over it, it has been legal up until now.
But now, Republicans are backing a law that would bar lawmakers from putting family members on the campaign payroll, Conservative Brief writes.
“The Family Integrity to Reform Elections (FIRE) Act, to be introduced by Rep. Pat Fallon (R-Texas) on Monday, would bar any candidate running for federal office from compensating immediate family members for campaign services,” the New York Post reported.
“It is currently legal for lawmakers to employ family members to work on campaigns. However, Federal Election Commission regulations prohibit paying candidate relatives a salary unless they are ‘providing bona fide services to the campaign” and the salary represents “fair market value of the services provided.’
Rep. Fallon stated, “The numbers speak for themselves. Americans are sick of politicians abusing their voters’ hard-earned money. This modern-day spoils system must end. My bill shines light on shady campaign finance practices while punishing those who take advantage of these funds to enrich their families.”
The legislation – first reviewed by The Post – would extend the ban to any political committee ‘established, maintained or controlled by a candidate or an individual holding Federal office’ – blocking any current lawmaker from compensating a family member for working on their campaign,” the report added.
“Fallon’s bill would also require campaigns to report any payments made to a candidate’s immediate family members. Relatives who fall under the proposed ban would include spouses, parents, siblings, grandparents, grandchildren, and domestic partners as well as the spouses of campaign committee members.
If the bill becomes law, any candidate who violates the ban would face a fine of either $100,000 for each violation or twice the amount paid to the family members — whichever is greater — and/or imprisonment for up to two years, reported Conservative Brief.
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The campaign committee would not be permitted to reimburse the candidate for any of the penalties,” the report continued.
Co-sponsors of the bill are Reps. Ronny Jackson (R-Texas), Byron Donalds (R-Fla), Pete Sessions (R-Texas), Jake Ellzey (R-Texas), Randy Weber (R-Texas), Brian Babin (R-Texas), Andrew Garbarino (R-NY), Kat Cammick (R-Fla), and Troy Nehls (R-Texas).
“Campaign funds should never under any circumstances be used to enrich a candidate or their family,” Garbarino told the Post.
“Voters deserve to feel confident that their public officials are running to represent them, not line their own pockets. This legislation will shine a light on campaign finance and hold candidates for public office to a higher standard on par with the public trust they wield,” he added.